Ecuador’s interior minister has confirmed that a person who is alleged to have links to WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has been arrested as he attempted to take a flight to Japan. She also spoke of two ‘Russian hackers.’
Ecuador’s Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo said on Thursday that a man was taken into custody in one of the airports as he was about to board a plane to Japan. There is little official information about his identity or the reasons for his arrest, with Romo telling a local radio station the individual was arrested on Thursday afternoon for the purposes of investigation.
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Shortly after Assange’s own arrest in London earlier that day, Romo hinted that the Ecuadorian government is about to unleash a crackdown on Assange’s supposed web of connections on Ecuadorian soil.
She claimed that a “key” member of WikiLeaks, who is also “close to Julian Assange,” has been a resident of Ecuador for several years and has engaged in malicious activity to undermine the government.
“We have sufficient evidence that he has been collaborating with destabilization attempts against the government,” Romo said. The minister claimed that the individual used to accompany the minister of foreign affairs in the Rafael Correa government, Ricardo Patino, on trips overseas.
“Along with Ricardo Patino, he has traveled twice last year to Peru and also to Spain,” she said, adding that the pair also took a trip to Venezuela in February this year one day apart.
While the Interior Ministry did not reveal the identity of Assange’s supposed helper, an anonymous official told AP that the arrested man was a Swedish software developer by the name of Ola Bini, a resident of Ecuador’s capital Quito.
Bini appears to run a Twitter account under his own name, which is full of re-posts of news developments surrounding Assange around the time of the publisher’s arrest. Bini also retweeted the news about Romo announcing that a person who is “part of WikiLeaks” is living in Ecuador. He described as “very worrisome”