No bail for WikiLeak founder

Photo by Karie Bradley

Photo by Karie Bradley

LONDON (AP) -- UPDATE: A British judge denied Julian Assange bail on Tuesday after the WikiLeaks founder told a London court he would fight efforts to extradite him to Sweden to face a sex-crimes investigation.

The secret-spilling websites' finances came under increasing pressure as both Visa and Mastercard cut off funding methods, but a WikiLeaks spokesman insisted details from classified U.S. diplomatic cables would keep flowing -- regardless of what happened to the group's founder.

"This will not change our operation," Kristinn Hrafnsson told The Associated Press. As if to underline the point, WikiLeaks released a cache of a dozen new diplomatic cables, its first publication in more than 24 hours

Visa says it has suspended all payments to WikiLeaks pending an investigation of the organization's business.

Popular online payment company PayPal, Inc. has already severed its links with WikiLeaks.

Swiss authorities closed Julian Assange's new Swiss bank account Monday.

WikiLeaks founder Assange surrendered to London police Tuesday to face a Swedish arrest warrant, the latest blow to an organization that faces legal, financial and technological challenges after releasing hundreds of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

His Swedish lawyer told The Associated Press his client would challenge any extradition from Britain to Sweden.

If that is the case, Assange will likely be remanded into U.K. custody or released on bail until another judge rules on whether to extradite him, a spokeswoman for the extradition department said on customary condition of anonymity.

Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, has been accused by two women in Sweden. He faces rape and sexual molestation allegations in one case and sexual molestation and unlawful coercion in the other. Assange denies the allegations.

His British attorney Mark Stephens says the allegations stem from a "dispute over consensual but unprotected sex" last summer.

Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny has rejected claims by Stephens and Assange that the prosecution has political overtones. She planned to comment on the arrest later Tuesday.

Assange's Swedish lawyer Bjorn Hurtig said his client would contest any extradition.

"He will absolutely do that," he told the AP in a telephone interview.