PayPal today admitted it suspended payments to WikiLeaks after an intervention from the US State Department.
The site’s vice-president of platform, Osama Bedier, told an internetconference the site had decided to freeze WikiLeaks’s account on 4 December after government representatives said it was engaged in illegal activity.
“State Dept told us these were illegal activities. It was straightforward,” he told the LeWeb conference in Paris, adding: “We … comply with regulations around the world, making sure that we protect our brand.”
PayPal is the first major corporation to admit that its decision to suspend dealings with WikiLeaks was a result of US government pressure.
It will intensify criticism from supporters of WikiLeaks that the site is being targeted for political reasons. Visa, Amazon, the Swiss bank PostFinance and others have also announced in recent days that they will cease trading with the whistleblowing site.