Wikileaks is suing an Icelandic hacker for stealing money from the hacktivist group, days after it was revealed he spoke with the FBI about an impending cyber attack on government computer systems.
The hacker, who turns 21 this year, says he met Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in 2010 and quickly became involved with the group, volunteering for various projects. He claims to have worked closely with Assange and served in an “important position” within the organization, Visir reports.
The young man became known after the Icelandic authorities revealed extensive details about an FBI probe of Wikileaks earlier this week. Agents came to Iceland in late August 2011 to interview him, after he went to the American embassy in Reykjavik with information about an impending cyber attack on the Icelandic government’s computer systems.
The hacker, who was 18 at the time, was questioned for five days against the wishes of the Icelandic government. He voluntarily went to Washington, D.C. with the FBI agents for further questioning after the agents were told to leave the country. It is not known what the young man knew, or what he told investigators.
Wikileaks spokesman and second-in-command, Kristinn Hrafnsson, says the young man was only involved in fundraising projects for a few months, mainly selling t-shirts and other items online for the group. Profits totaling ISK 5-6 million (US$40,000-47,000) were never delivered to the Wikileaks bank account, Hrafnsson claims.
“He used deceit and falsification to have the funds go into his personal account but not that of the organization,” Hrafnsson said. “Due to circumstances and the organization’s request, he was given an opportunity to repay the money in a period of a few months. When the money wasn’t repaid, the case was reported to the police, probably in March or April last year, and that’s where it’s still at.”
Hrafnsson adds that the hacker only met Assange when he was flown to England to meet the Wikileaks head in 2011, which was common at the time.
Icelandic television station Stöð 2 reports the young man has a long history with the police for fraud and theft, among other violations.
“His situation seems to be very poor and the deceit and treachery border on being the result of serious illness,” Hrafnsson said.