Whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks lost many of the sources of its funding more than six months ago when Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal stopped processing payments to the controversial non-profit. But if those financial blockades continue for five days longer, WikiLeaks will take legal action, according to Forbes.
Unless Visa Europe and Mastercard Europe restore payments to WikiLeaks by Thursday, WikiLeaks and DataCell, its payment provider, will log a formal complaint with the E.U. Commission, the organization’s Icelandic lawyer Sveinn Andri Sveinsson told Forbes.
"They’re boycotting Datacell and WikiLeaks without any objective justification," Sveinsson said. "This is clearly an abuse of their market dominance."
Forbes explains that the complaint alleges that Visa and Mastercard are in violation of Articles 101 and 102 of the E.U. treaty, “which deal with competition among businesses and forbid the creation of anti-competitive cartels. Article 101 prevents firms from creating partnerships for the purposes of price fixing, and Article 102 forbids firms in a ‘dominant position’ from abusing that position.”
WikiLeaks recently released a video that claims that losing its financial support has cost the organization around $15 million. Mastercard and Visa have maintained that WikiLeaks is in violation of their terms of service. Visa told Forbes that it will “respond in due course” if WikiLeaks opts to take action, but neither company has commented further.
WikiLeaks caused an international diplomatic debacle when it began the release of more than 250,000 confidential U.S. embassy cables last fall. The organization’s chief, Julian Assange is also fighting a legal battle of his own, currently under house arrest near London, awaiting extradition to Sweden where he faces accusations of sexual assault.