Assange said that WikiLeaks is to stop publishing and will try to raise funds in a bid to rectify its financial woes [EPA]

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has announced that financial problems may lead to the closure of the whistleblowing website at the end of the year.

The website revealed on Monday that it would stop publishing for the moment in order to focus on making money, explaining that the blockade imposed by financial companies including Visa, MasterCard, Western Union and PayPal left it with no choice.

"If WikiLeaks does not find a way to remove this blockade we will simply not be able to continue by the turn of the new year,'' Assange said in a statement.

"If we don't knock down the blockade we simply will not be able to continue."

The statement said that in order to ensure survival, WikiLeaks must "aggressively fundraise in order to fight back against this blockade and its proponents".

US-based financial companies pulled the plug on WikiLeaks shortly after it began publishing about 250,000 US State Department cables last year.

The group says the restrictions starved it of nearly all its revenue. 

WikiLeaks has long shown signs of financial distress. In a recent statement about contested book deal of Assange's, the website said it did not have enough money to hire a lawyer.

Assange remains under legal pressure in Europe and the US.

A decision on whether to extradite him to Sweden to face sex crime allegations is expected in the next few weeks.

He also may face possible legal action in the US.

Source: Agencies