Factbox: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – Here are some facts about Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks website, who was arrested by British police on a European warrant issued by Sweden, London’s Metropolitan Police said on Tuesday.

* PERSONAL LIFE:

— Assange was born in Townsville, Australia, in July 1971, to parents who were involved in theater and travelled frequently. Assange’s mother runs a puppet theater.

— In his teens, Assange gained a reputation as a sophisticated computer programer.

— In 1995 he was arrested and pleaded guilty to hacking. He was fined, but avoided prison on condition he did not reoffend.

— In his late 20s, he went to Melbourne University to study mathematics and physics.

— Assange has no permanent home and was often seen carrying a rucksack, moving from city to city and staying with friends in countries from Iceland to Kenya.

— He is described by those he has worked with as highly intelligent, determined, intense and at times paranoid.

— He is known for being highly secretive. It has been reported that he carries several mobile phones and at one point believed he was being followed.

— Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning about allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion, and an arrest warrant was received by London’s Metropolitan Police. Authorities in Sweden, where Assange has spent much of his time, were seeking to have him detained to investigate the allegations by two Swedish women. He has denied any wrongdoing.

* WIKILEAKS WEBSITE:

— Assange began WikiLeaks in 2006, creating a web-based “dead letter drop” for would-be leakers.

— His website has five full-time staff, several dozen active volunteers and 800 part-time volunteers. Assange has said he has received hundreds of documents and does not have enough resources to go through all of them.

— Assange said he thinks there is still a place for investigative journalism and hoped that WikiLeaks could complement traditional media.

— He said that WikiLeaks has never compromised a source.

— Assange is an avid user of social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter and is known for his sometimes sharply worded tweets. WikiLeaks’ pages have some 300,000 to 400,000 followers.

Sources: Reuters/WikiLeaks website/BBC

(Reporting by David Cutler in London and Mia Shanley in Sweden)

Factbox: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested