Following ultimatum, WikiLeaks credit card donations reinstated

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Mere days after issuing an ultimatum to Visa and Mastercard to lift their seven-month ban on donating to Wikileaks, the whistle-blowing website has claimed victory.

Datacell, the whistle-blower’s data hosting service provider in a statement announced that, “…we have observed that an alternative payment processor that we have contracted with, has in fact opened the gateway for payments [to WikiLeaks] with Visa and MasterCard”. The statement also read, “We choose to interpret this as that Visa and Mastercard [have] in fact given in to our demand that the payment services [be] reinstated”.

It added that payments by American Express, which it did not have access to even before the conflict with the credit card companies began in December, were also now possible.

Following what was dubbed “CableGate“, when WikiLeaks began publishing some 250 000 classified diplomatic cables sparking an international controversy, Visa and MasterCard imposed a ban on all payments made to the whistleblowing website.

WikiLeaks claims the ban cost them 130 000 euros (US$185,250) a day.

However, despite Datacell’s statement, Svein Andri Sveinsson, the controversial site’s lawyer had a slightly less congratulatory take. On the day the threatened complaint with the European Commission over the ban was supposed to have been filed, Sveinsson said that the suit had been delayed since Visa had asked for more time to react to its demands.

Visa “said they would come back to us Friday… If nothing changes, we will file the complaint after the weekend. We just have the courtesy to not file a complaint when they requested a delay”, Sveinsson said.

WikiLeaks and DataCell, arguing that the credit card titans have abused their dominant market positions and violated European competition rules, have also threatened to file separate lawsuits in Denmark and Iceland.

DataCell’s statement concluded, it was “happy that our threats of legal action have had this effect. But the battle is by far not over!”.

“We will initiate the lawsuit in Denmark to get compensated for our losses in the last seven months, and we consider it likely that we will file the complaint before the EU Commission”, it said. — AFP with additional reporting by Staff Reporter

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