The WikiLeaks founder confirms that he expects to make in excess of $1.5 million from book deals. And in the least surprising revelation of the year, he plans to use the money on his ever-spiraling legal costs.
The 39-year-old was recently released on bail in Britain and is fighting extradition to Sweden, where two women have accused him of sexual misconduct (Assange denies the allegations.) He’s essentially living under house arrest in a country mansion, but often pops up to give media interviews.
His most recent disclosure was to the Sunday Times of London where he explained that he had to sign the mega-bucks deal over penning his autobiography to alleviate any financial difficulties. “I don’t want to write this book, but I have to,” he protested. “I have already spent £200,000 ($250,000) for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat.”
Breaking down the deal and it’s reported that Assange is in line to make $800,000 from his U.S. publisher, Alfred A Knopf, with a U.K. deal with Canongate supposedly worth a further £325,000 ($500,000). There is also the serialization factor to be taken into consideration.
Assange has previously gone on record stating that legal costs for WikiLeaks as well as his own defense were nearing $800,000. What’s more (literally) is that the recent decision by the likes of Visa, MasterCard and PayPal to stop processing donations have cost WikiLeaks $650,000, which could have funded WikiLeaks’ publishing operations for six months (the Guardian notes that at its peak, WikiLeaks was taking in $130,000 a day.)
Assange’s extradition hearing has been scheduled for early February so he’ll have to go some in order to have his book published before then. And if a newspaper offers up extracts to its readers without permission, one wonders if Assange will smile or sneer at the irony.