WikiLeaks will sue Visa and MasterCard over their continued refusal to process donations to the whistle-blowing website following ‘Cablegate’.
In June, Bender von Haller Dragested in Denmark and Reykjavik Law Firm in Iceland acting on behalf of WikiLeaks and its credit card processing partner DataCell, warned Visa and MasterCard that if the financial blockade is not removed they will be litigated in Denmark and a request for prosecution will be filed with the European Union Commission.
Visa Europe, MasterCard Europe, and Teller (a Danish company licensed to process transactions on behalf of the card companies) are the subjects of the complaint on the grounds they are “engaging in an unlawful, US influenced, financial blockade” to WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks argues the co-ordinated action of Visa and MasterCard on 7 December 2010 to block all credit card transactions to WikiLeaks and DataCell constituted a serious violation of the Competition Rules of the EU – specifically Article 101(1) and 102.
While Teller has acknowledged it is ready to reinstate the services as due diligence, Visa and MasterCard has ordered the processor to keep the payment services closed. Neither Visa nor MasterCard have answered WikiLeaks’ demands or shown willingness to negotiate a settlement.
The penalty for infringing the competition rules of the EU can amount to 10% of the turnover of the companies involved.
On 28 June, MasterCard once again felt the full force of the power of WikiLeaks’ ‘hacktivists’ as its website suffered a protest outage for two hours. Ibom Hactivist, a member of hacking group ‘Anonymous’ took credit for the attack. He tweeted: “MasterCard.com DOWN!!!, thats what you get when you mess with @wikileaks @Anon_Central and the enter community of lulz loving individuals :D”.
WikiLeaks says there is no justification for the continued suspension of payments as it has not been found to be engaged in any illegal activity. In the only formal US review to occur, the US Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy C. Geitner, refused to add WikiLeaks to the US financial embargo list, saying there was no legal justification to do so.