Key Witness in Julian Assange Case Jailed in Iceland After Allegedly Fabricating Statement in Court, Going on Crime Spree: Report

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.
October 7, 2021 Updated: October 7, 2021

A leading witness in the United States Justice Department’s case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been jailed in Iceland, Stundin reported.

Sigurdur Thordarson, a hacker and convicted pedophile, was remanded in custody in Iceland’s highest security prison, Litla Hraun, on Sept. 24 after being arrested when he arrived back in Iceland from a trip to Spain.

Officials requested he be detained indefinitely to halt an “ongoing crime spree,” claiming he posed a “clear and present” threat to the public and was at high-risk of re-offending and violating the law. The judge agreed.

His lawyer, Hunbogi J. Andersen, confirmed the news to Stundin, a well-known Icelandic biweekly.

The Epoch Times has contacted Thordarson’s lawyer for comment.

U.S. prosecutors have indicted Assange on 18 criminal charges of breaking an espionage law and conspiring to hack government computers.

WikiLeaks published a U.S. military video in 2010 showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff. It then released thousands of secret classified files and diplomatic cables, which included critical appraisals of world leaders, from Russian President Vladimir Putin to members of the Saudi royal family.

Assange sought refuge inside Ecuador’s London embassy for seven years from 2012 until he was arrested in April 2019 for skipping bail during a separate legal battle.

He is now in London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison but the United States is currently seeking his extradition from the UK. If it succeeds, he could face up to 175 years in jail. Assange has argued he won’t get a fair trial in the United States.

Thordarson was given immunity by the FBI in exchange for testimony against Assange, but later admitted to Stundin that he had fabricated statements to implicate the WikiLeaks founder and contradicted what he was quoted as saying in U.S. court documents, casting doubt on the indictment against Assange.

Epoch Times Photo
Julian Assange speaks to the media from the balcony of the embassy of Ecuador in London on May 19, 2017. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Epoch Times Photo
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. holding a U.N. report, speaks on the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London on Feb. 5, 2016. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Photo)

Thordarson told U.S. courts that he was asked by Assange to “commit computer intrusion and steal additional information, including audio recordings of phone conversations between officials in NATO Country-1, including members of parliament.”

However, he told Stundin that this was in fact a lie, explaining that Assange, “never asked him to hack or access phone recordings of MPs” and that such recordings were provided to them by a third party. He added that Assange was not involved but that he later offered to show the recordings to the WikiLeaks founder, without knowing what they contained.

Thordarson also told U.S. courts that he and Assange had attempted but failed to decrypt a file stolen from an Icelandic bank. However Thordarson admitted to Stundin that these were actually files that were widely circulated online in 2010 and believed to be related to the collapse of Icelandic Landsbanki in the 2008 financial crisis, which does not support his initial claims that they were “stolen,” as it was assumed they were distributed by whistleblowers from inside the bank.

Thordarson admitted to a host of other misleading and fabricated comments he made against Assange that can be found in the indictment.

He also told Stundin that he had continued with a “crime spree” after it was discovered that he had used money raised for WikiLeaks through merchandise sales in 2010 to embezzle more than $50,000 from the organization.

Thordarson said: “The idea behind all the companies [that I run in Iceland] is to squeeze out every last penny, knowing it will inevitably lead to bankruptcy by request of the tax authorities and the bill would end with them. Is it illegal? No, it’s just very immoral, that much I would agree with. But I have not heard of anyone being convicted for this sort of thing.”

Stundin also claims that Thordarson allegedly forged his own lawyer’s signature in order to “fraudulently inflate the net worth of his company’s assets.”

It is not known whether his recent admissions to Stundin played a role in his recent arrest.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.