The debit and credit card company was fined 1.2 billion ISK in Reykjavík District Court for illegally blocking payments to Wikileaks in 2010, after previously being legally compelled to open payments again about two years later.
The case begins in 2010, when the company DataCell began handling donations to Wikileaks. This was a banner year for the whistleblower site, as the Chelsea Manning leaks were making headlines around the world. However, Valitor blocked transactions from Visa card holders in Iceland to Wikileaks, prompting a legal battle that lasted years.
“I have confirmed today that I can support Al-Qaida, the Ku Klux Klan, buy weapons and drugs and all kinds of porn with my Visa card,” Ólafur Sigurvinsson, then director of Datacell, told MBL at the time. “There is nobody investigating this, but I cannot support a human rights organisation which is fighting for freedom of expression.” Speaking to radio station Rás 2, Ólafur added, “This is a very serious breach, and not just of the contract that we have [with Visa] … now card-holders cannot decide for themselves where they spend their money.”
Ultimatetly, DataCell won the legal battle against Valitor, and now, Fréttablaðið reports, they will have to pay 1.2 billion ISK to both DataCell and Sunshine Press Productions, Wikileaks’ publishing company.
Sveinn Andri Sveinsson, a lawyer for Sunshine Press, called the decision a Solomon’s judgement, telling reporters that while they were seekining 18 billion ISK in damages, Valitor was hoping to have the case dismissed altogether.
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