Leaked documents include letter sent to the Russian Consulate in London.
Julian Assange planned to leave the U.K. and seek refuge in Russia as authorities closed in on him, according to a leak of WikiLeaks data.
“I, Julian Assange, hereby grant full authority to my friend, Israel Shamir, to both drop off and collect my passport, in order to get a visa,” Assange wrote to the Russian consulate in London in a letter dated November 30, 2010. The letter is part of a trove of WikiLeaks emails, financial records, secretly recorded footage and other documents leaked to the Associated Press.
However, in a statement on Twitter, WikiLeaks said Assange did not write the letter in question or apply for a Russian visa, and said a former associate of Assange was responsible for the document.
AP said it showed the documents to former WikiLeaks associates and verified details such as bank accounts and telephone numbers to check the authenticity of the files.
On the same day that he reportedly sent his letter to the Russians, Interpol issued an international arrest warrant for Assange, who was wanted in Sweden on charges of rape and sexual assault.
In 2012, Assange skipped bail to seek asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy, where he has remained ever since.
In June this year, a London court ruled that a British arrest warrant for Assange is still valid. Though the Swedish charges have now been dropped, Assange still faces arrest for breaching his bail conditions in the U.K.
Assange’s relationship with Russia will likely be of interest to the U.S. The FBI claims Russian intelligence gave WikiLeaks stolen emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman and other Democratic figures ahead of the 2016 presidential election.