December 9, 2010 / 4:10 PM / in 7 years

Small Swedish firm keeps channeling funds to WikiLeaks

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - While major payment providers MasterCard, Visa and PayPal have stopped transfers to WikiLeaks, a small company with a base in south Sweden said on Thursday it would carry on as a lone channel for donations.

The three big companies stopped servicing WikiLeaks after the website’s release of U.S. diplomatic cables that have angered and embarrassed Washington.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has also been remanded in custody in Britain on accusations of sexual crimes in Sweden.

Flattr, a British-Swedish firm operating a web-based donation system, is one of few avenues left open to people who want to donate money to finance WikiLeaks’ operations.

“We will never stop this as long as WikiLeaks’ operations are legal,” Leif Hogberg, a system developer and co-owner of the small firm, said in a telephone interview.

“Since we are a British company with a Swedish subsidiary it is British and Swedish law that apply in our case, and WikiLeaks is not illegal in Britain or Sweden at present.”

Hogberg said the company had not been put under any “direct pressure” to cancel transfers to WikiLeaks.

“However, we have noticed that some payment providers don’t really want to co-operate with us right now,” he said, declining to disclose the identities of the payment providers.

Hogberg declined to say how much money had been transferred to the organization in the months it had been registered as a recipient of donations through Flattr, which has about 50,000 doners around the world.

Flattr was co-founded by Peter Sunde, one of the men behind file sharing website The Pirate Bay.

The Flattr payment system, which collates the clicks a donor makes to an individual cause and then divies out the sum contributed by the donor on a monthly basis, also made it difficult to estimate the exact amount donated, Hogberg added.

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