Moscow 'planned to help Julian Assange flee'

Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assange

Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno had reached out to the Russians and Britain's Foreign Office for their approval.

"Russian diplomats contacted neither employees of the Ecuadorian embassy in London nor Mr. Assange's representatives in order organize his departure from the United Kingdom", the ministry said on Friday, commenting on a publication in the Guardian, which claimed that "Russian diplomats held secret talks in London a year ago with people close to Julian Assange to assess whether they could help him flee the UK".

Ecuador on 19 December 2017 approved a "special designation in favor of Mr Julian Assange so that he can carry out functions at the Ecuadorean Embassy in Russian Federation", according to the letter written to opposition legislator Paola Vintimilla.

But the plan faltered when the British government refused to accept Ecuador's application to make Assange a diplomat so he would be immune from prosecution, the sources said.

'I, Julian Assange, hereby grant full authority to my friend, Israel Shamir, to both drop off and collect my passport, in order to get a visa, ' said the letter.

While Wikileaks published the stolen emails (including ones from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign), Assange has vehemently denied he received them from Russians or that he colluded with the country's intelligence services.

Though his health is reportedly in decline after years locked in the embassy (and his mental state questionable), Assange's legal team say that United Kingdom police are in reality simply trying to scoop him up so he can be sent to the U.S., where top officials have made no secret of wanting his head on a platter. Assange denies receiving the emails from Russian Federation, but has not ruled out having obtained them from a third party. However, earlier in the day, WikiLeaks categorically denied that Assange's proposed diplomatic status had anything to do with Russian Federation.

The plan was ultimately deemed "too risky" and aborted, the report said.

Details emerged about the incident through a letter from the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry to a legislator.

Among those documents is a 4 December letter from Assange in which he renounced his request for political asylum from Ecuador in preparation to become an Ecuadorean diplomat.

Vintimillia said at a press conference (Spanish) in Quito on Thursday that Assange's citizenship should be rescinded.

Mr Assange, 47, remains in hiding in a back room of the Knightsbridge building six years after losing a legal battle against extradition to Sweden for questioning on allegations of rape and sexual assault.

The Ecuadorian President has said Mr Assange can not remain in asylum for life.



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