WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Signs $1.5 Million Book Deal

Julian Assange - Speaks to High Court - December 2010
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'I don't want to write this book, but I have to,' Internet activist says as he fights Swedish criminal charges.

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder currently out on bail following his arrest on a sex-crimes warrant, confirmed Sunday that he has landed a lucrative deal for his autobiography.

He said the sum -- about $1.5 million -- will be used to fight the allegations that he sexually assaulted two women in Sweden. The deal is with U.K. publisher Canongate, who will handle the translation rights according to business website Daily Finance, and U.S. publisher Alfred A. Knopf, who will provide the bulk of the salary to the tune of $800,000.

"I don't want to write this book, but I have to," Assange told Britain's Sunday Times. "I have already spent 200,000 pounds for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat."

Wikileaks, which continues to cause international controversy for its releasing of nearly 250,000 classified US State Department cables, has been facing further financial difficulties after Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard and PayPal blocked donations to the site.

Assange remains in Britain fighting Sweden's efforts to extradite him for the sexual assault claims. A hearing in London is scheduled for February 7. There have also been reports that the U.S. is looking at ways to extradite him for the State Department leaks.