The founder of WikiLeaks — the muckraking group that’s made headlines publishing classified U.S. embassy communications from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — says he will soon reveal the secrets of financial firms, including a major U.S. bank.
In an interview with Forbes, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange promises that early next year the group will publish "tens or hundreds of thousands of documents" generated by a "big U.S. bank."
The documents will provide "true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms," Assange said, revealing "some flagrant violations" and "unethical practices."
Last year, Assange told Computerworld that WikiLeaks had 5 gigabytes of data from a Bank of America executive’s hard drive.
Bank of America hasn’t commented on speculation that company information may be released by WikiLeaks, and Forbes’ Andy Greenberg said in a follow-up piece that Assange told him he has potentially damaging documents on "multiple finance firms."
Whether or not Bank of America is the "big U.S. bank" that WikiLeaks says it plans to expose, the documents could shed light on the financial crisis that led the U.S. government to provide billions in bailouts to banks through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
Virtually all of the nation’s biggest banks — including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and GMAC Financial Services, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley — accepted TARP money, most of which has since been repaid.
Those banks were heavily involved in originating and securitizing residential mortgage loans, and some are now at loggerheads with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the mortgage giants’ demands that they repurchase many of them.