Spain’s National Court announced an investigation Wednesday into a security firm accused of spying on WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
The court, one of the country’s highest, confirmed it is considering whether the Spanish-based security firm, Undercover Global S.L, and its manager, David Morales, violated Mr. Assange’s right to privacy by covertly eavesdropping him and his lawyers during his stay at the embassy.
Mr. Assange, a 48-year-old Australian, entered the embassy in 2012 while under investigation in the U.S. for releasing classified documents through his WikiLeaks website. He was granted asylum by Ecuador and lived on the property for nearly seven years prior to being punted in April and promptly arrested. He was subsequently charged by the Department of Justice with crimes related to WikiLeaks and is currently fighting a U.S. extradition request while behind bars in a London prison.
In a press release, Spain’s National Court said it is investigating a complaint brought on behalf of Mr. Assange that alleges the security firm installed hidden microphones and other devices within the embassy which recorded information later passed along to the Ecuadorian and U.S. governments.
Spanish newspaper El Pais reported Wednesday that Mr. Morales was quietly arrested in southern Spain last month and released on bail. Authorities began investigating him and his company after El Pais revealed in June the existence of audio and video recordings from within the embassy of Mr. Assange and his meetings with attorneys and other visitors, the paper reported.
A message requesting comment from Undercover Global was not immediately answered.
The Justice Department has charged Mr. Assange was crimes including multiple violations of the U.S. Espionage Act related to his solicitation and publication of sensitive military and diplomatic documents dating back to 2010. He has argued he acted as a journalist and is fighting extradition.Sign up for Daily Newsletters