WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has confirmed to Britain's Sunday Times that he has struck a lucrative deal with U.K. publisher Canongate and U.S. publisher Alfred A. Knopf for his autobiography.
The deal is believed to be worth nearly $1.5 million, with Random House's Knopf division providing $800,000. Assange said he'll use the money to fight the allegations that he sexually assaulted two women in Sweden.
"I don't want to write this book, but I have to," Assange told the Times. "I have already spent 200,000 pounds for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat.
Assange is currently out on bail in Britain while he tries to thwart Sweden's attempts to extradite him for the sexual assault allegations. There's a hearing in London that is scheduled for Feb. 7.
WikiLeaks has been embroiled in an international controversy after recently releasing nearly 250,000 classified U.S. State Dept. cables. Several companies including Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard and PayPal have blocked donations to the site, making it difficult for Assange to get financial support from his many fans.
Canongate publisher Jamie Byng confirmed to DailyFinance that the U.K. publisher will handle all translation rights for the manuscript, which is expected to be delivered in March, with plans to publish later in 2011.