David Morales, the owner of the Spanish security company that was in charge of protecting the Ecuadorian embassy in London while Julian Assange was living there, has been arrested and released on bail, judicial sources have told the Spanish newspaper EL PAÍS.
The director of UC Global S. L. is being investigated by Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional, after allegedly ordering the private conversations of the WikiLeaks founder to be spied on, as well as supposedly passing the information collected to the United States’ intelligence services.
Morales’ arrest took place on September 17 in the southern Spanish city of Jerez de la Frontera, which is where the security firm is based. The information had not come to light until now given that the investigation is under seal.
Police officers searched the company’s offices and also seized hard disks and documents, all of which are now being analyzed by the judge in charge of the case, José de la Mata. According to judicial sources, two firearms with their serial numbers erased were found in Morales’ home, as well as €20,000 in cash.
Morales was taken to Madrid were he was questioned at the High Court before being released on bail. His passport was taken from him and his bank accounts frozen. He currently has to check in at the High Court every two weeks.
Investigations into Morales and his security company began in August, several weeks after EL PAÍS revealed the existence of videos, audio recordings and confidential reports put together by UC Global S. L., which reveal that meetings held by Assange with his lawyers and colleagues were spied on. The tapes are potential evidence of a violation of client-attorney confidentiality.
The United States has requested that Assange be extradited from the United Kingdom to face charges related to WikiLeaks’ publication of information related to secret military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is accused of offenses that potentially carry with them 175 years in jail.
After the revelations were published by EL PAÍS, Assange’s defense team filed a criminal complaint against Morales, in which he is accused of alleged privacy offenses as well as the violation of attorney-client privilege, misappropriation of funds, bribery and money laundering.
Neither Morales nor his lawyer have responded to requests from EL PAÍS to provide their version of events.
Credit: El Pais, https://elpais.com