The founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, has signed $1.5 million contracts with publishers to pen his autobiography, the Sunday Times said.
Assange, whose WikiLeaks website has provoked U.S. rage by releasing diplomatic documents, said the money will help him to defend himself against the sexual assault claims made by two women in Sweden, which he denies.
“I don’t want to write this book, but I have to,” he told the newspaper in the interview. “I have already spent 200,000 pounds [$310,000] for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat.”
The Australian said he will receive $800,000 from a U.S. publisher
Alfred Knopf and $500,000 from a British deal with Canongate. The total sum from the deals, including those with other markets, will reach over 1 million pounds ($1.5 million).
The WikiLeaks founder was released on bail last week and vowed that he would continue his work.
Under the bail conditions, Assange must wear an electronic tag, report to police every day and observe a curfew. He is also obliged to stay at the Norfolk mansion of WikiLeaks supporter Vaughan Smith.
World leaders and diplomats have downplayed the impact of the leak of more than 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic cables by the WikiLeaks site, but many have questioned the benefit of the project, alleging that some of the leaks could “threaten lives.”