LONDON — Julian Assange's lawyer was arranging Monday to deliver the WikiLeaks founder to British police for questioning in a sex-crimes investigation of the man who has angered Washington by spilling thousands of government secrets on the Internet.
Lawyer Mark Stephens told reporters in London that the Metropolitan Police had called him to say they had received an arrest warrant from Sweden for Assange. Assange has been staying at an undisclosed location in Britain.
"We are in the process of making arrangements to meet with police by consent," Stephens said, declining to say when Assange's interview with police would take place.
Scotland Yard refused to comment.
The 39-year-old Australian is wanted on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion in Sweden, and the case could lead to his extradition. Interpol placed Assange on its most-wanted list Nov. 30 after Sweden issued an arrest warrant. Last week, Sweden's highest court upheld the detention order.
Assange has denied the accusations, which Stephens has said stem from a "dispute over consensual but unprotected sex." The lawyer has said the Swedish investigation has turned into a "political stunt."
The pressure on WikiLeaks mounted from other quarters Monday: Swiss authorities closed Assange's bank account, depriving him of a key fundraising tool. And WikiLeaks struggled to stay online despite more hacker attacks and resistance from world governments, receiving help from computer-savvy advocates who have set up hundreds of "mirrors" — or carbon-copy websites — around the world.
In one of its most sensitive disclosures yet, WikiLeaks released on Sunday a secret 2009 diplomatic cable listing sites around the world that the U.S. considers critical to its security. The locations include undersea communications lines, mines, food suppliers, manufacturers of weapons components, and vaccine factories.
Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan called the disclosure damaging and said it gives valuable information to the nation's enemies.
"This is one of many reasons why we believe WikiLeaks' actions are irresponsible and dangerous," Lapan said.
WikiLeaks has been under intense international scrutiny over its disclosure of a mountain of classified U.S. cables that have embarrassed Washington and other governments. U.S. officials have been putting pressure on WikiLeaks and those who help it, and is investigating whether Assange can be prosecuted under espionage law.
In what Assange described as a last-ditch deterrent, WikiLeaks has warned that it has distributed a heavily encrypted version of some of its most important documents and that the information could be instantly made public if the staff were arrested.
For days, WikiLeaks has been forced by governments, hackers and companies to move from one website to another. WikiLeaks is now relying on a Swedish host. But WikiLeaks' Swedish servers were crippled after coming under suspected attack again Monday, the latest in a series of such assaults.