Bank Of America Stops Handling WikiLeaks Payments

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Bank of America has joined several other financial institutions in refusing to handle payments for WikiLeaks.

The Charlotte-based bank released a statement saying it will no longer process any transactions that it believes are intended for the site, which has released thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

“This decision is based upon our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments,” the bank said.

The action comes as WikiLeaks says it plans to release information about banks. The site’s founder has previously said it has a trove of documents on Bank of America.

Other financial institutions, including MasterCard and PayPal, have also stopped handling payments for the site.

Reached by phone, Bank of America spokesman Scott Silvestri declined further comment to The Associated Press on Saturday.

WikiLeaks responded to Bank of America’s announcement with a Twitter message urging supporters to stop doing business with the bank.

“We ask that all people who love freedom close out their accounts at Bank of America,” WikiLeaks said in Twitter post Saturday. It also called on businesses to switch funds from the bank.

In an interview with CNBC on Friday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said his organization has plans to soon release information about banks, and he told Forbes magazine last month that the data would show “unethical practices.”

Assange told Computerworld magazine in 2009 that his organization had a trove of files on Bank of America. “At the moment, for example, we are sitting on 5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive’s hard drives. Now how do we present that? It’s a difficult problem,” he was quoted as telling the magazine.

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