Assange: WikiLeaks may move to Switzerland

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says the whistle-blowing site is weighing a possible move to Switzerland, according to reports in the country's media.

The news was revealed by French-language newspapers, Tribune de Genève and 24 Heures, which today published what they describe as an exclusive interview with the Australian.

"Switzerland is a possibility; and our main domain name is a .ch," Assange told the papers. "Despite strong pressure, the Switch company, which manages domain names [in Switzerland] has held out."

The WikiLeaks founder first hinted at a possible relocation to Switzerland in an interview with Swiss radio last November, but said in the interviews published today said that no move had yet been decided.

Last December, Swiss bank PostFinance froze Assange's assets, preventing him from accessing €31,000 he had deposited.

Assange also made the surprise suggestion that the group was considering Australia, in spite of hostile comments made about the site by the country's prime minister, Julia Gillard.

The activist is currently on bail in the UK, due to reappear in court on Tuesday to arrange a hearing for an extradition request by authorities in Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual misconduct made by two women.

Denying rumours that he had requested political asylum in Switzerland, Assange said that the terms of his bail conditions prevented him from discussing whether or not he might do so in the future.

Addressing the political pressures that had been placed on WikiLeaks since it began publishing a cache of more than 250,000 secret diplomatic cables sent between the US State Department and embassies abroad, Assange was resolute.

"I would say the pressure strengthens my determination," he said. "But financially it is a different matter. We have been losing more than SFr600,000 [£415,000] a week since we started publishing the diplomatic cables. If we are to continue our activities, we will have to get that money back one way or another."

Assange recently said he had been forced into signing book deals worth a total of £1.5 million in a bid to cover the cost of running WikiLeaks and legal expenses.

“I don’t want to write this book, but I have to,” he told UK newspaper The Sunday Times. “I have already spent £200,000 for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat.”