wikileaks founder julian assange ecuador asylum cost
Policing costs for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange passes £10m as asylum at Ecuadorian embassy continues Reuters


  • WikiLeaks founder has claimed asylum at Ecuador embassy since June 2012
  • Assange fears eventual extradition to the US to face charges of leaking government secrets

The cost to the UK taxpayer for policing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during his asylum stay at the Ecuadorian embassy has passed £10m, figures show.

Assange has sought asylum in the embassy since June 2012 in order to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he has been accused of sexually assaulting two women in Stockholm in 2010.

The allegations are denied by Assange and it is feared that he will be extradited to the US from Sweden, where he could face charges of leaking secret government documents.

assange taxpayer bill
The cost for policing Assange passed £10m on Thursday morning Screengrab/

UK Minister of State Hugo Swire said in a statement to Parliament that the government would welcome a visit from the Swedish prosecution if they sought to question Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy.

"If (the prosecution) wishes to travel here to question Mr Assange in the embassy in London we would do absolutely everything in order to facilitate that," Swire said. "Indeed, we would actively welcome it."

Cost estimates have been taken from a statement by the Metropolitan Police in January 2015, in which it was revealed that the government was spending around £10,500 per day by maintaining a police presence at the embassy.

A minimum of three police officers are stationed outside the embassy 24-hours-a-day under orders to arrest Assange if he attempts to leave. Ecuador has stated that Assange can stay indefinitely.

A website dedicated to tracking the costs of Assange's asylum stay estimates that the money spent by the UK taxpayer on police at the embassy is the equivalent of around 40,000 hospital beds for one night.

"Why should this continue to be the UK's problem?" the website states. "Sweden won't come to London to question Assange, and Ecuador has given Assange the right to stay in their embassy indefinitely.

"This is a stalemate, and the UK taxpayer is paying the price."