Julian Assange, the founder of whistle-blower WikiLeaks website has bagged a £1.1 million deal for his autobiography.
39-year-old Assange whose site has enraged the American government by releasing hundreds of secret embassy cables, said the money would help him defend himself against allegations of sexual assault made by two women in Sweden.
“I don’t want to write this book, but I have to,” The Sunday Times quoted him as saying.
“I have already spent £200,000 for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat.”
The Australian journalist is contesting an attempt by the Swedish authorities to extradite him.
He said he would be happy to answer questions in Britain but feared if he returned to Sweden for questioning he would be extradited to America, where US Vice-President Joe Biden has branded him a “high-tech terrorist”.
Assange said he would receive £518,000 from Alfred A Knopf, his American publisher. A British deal with Canongate is worth a further £325,000. And money from other international markets and serialisation is expected to raise the total to at least £1. 1 million pounds.