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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Banks aren’t opposing WikiLeaks blockade

Norwegian bank officials seem to be looking the other way as their co-owned credit card company effectively blocks donations to whistle-blowing organization WikiLeaks on behalf of Visa Europe.

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reports that the banks, including DnB NOR and SR-Bank, earned handsome profits when their payment firm BBS and credit card company Teller merged with PBS of Denmark to form Nets Holding. Nets, via Teller,  continues to block payments to WikiLeaks by suspending its agreement with yet another company in Iceland, Datacell, reports DN. Datacell handles donations for WikiLeaks.

The Norwegian bank officials told DN they have been “oriented” about the conflict involving WikiLeaks and various companies involved in credit card transfers but opted against getting involved directly. Some law experts have claimed the payment blockade is illegal.

“I have no comment,” DnB NOR director Leif Teksum told DN. He didn’t want to express any opinions about Teller’s decision to hinder WikiLeaks supporters from sending money to the company. Nor would Terje Vareberg, managing director of Sparebanken SR-Bank, comment other than to confirm that his board had been oriented.

Asked whether he supported the payment blockade against WikiLeaks, which has divulged classified documents that have embarrassed governments worldwide, he said it was never easy to disrupt a payment system but referred to Teller as a merely a “distributor” of services for Visa and MasterCard, which are behind the decision to disrupt payments to WikiLeaks.

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