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Tue Nov 13, 2012, 09:34 AM

Hamburg Authority Deals Blow to WikiLeaks

11/13/2012
By Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark

... As of Oct. 25, the Hamburg Tax Office retroactively revoked the non-profit status of the Wau Holland Foundation (WHS), the organization that handles and transfers donations to WikiLeaks from Germany. The foundation is named after the co-founder of Germany's famed Chaos Computer Club, a hacker organization with a strong international reputation ...

... the Kassel Tax Office voiced its first doubts about the non-profit status of the foundation, which had taken up the cause of promoting the freedom of information, among other goals. According to internal documents, in January 2011, officials working for Hesse Interior Minister Boris Rhein, a member of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), even tried to convince the state agency that regulates non-profits to launch an investigation against WHS. They argued that it was "incomprehensible" as to how "the foundation's purpose of promoting worldwide communication, freedom of information and civil courage" was being fulfilled by its activities. But the state regulators weren't interested, saying that WHS's support of WikiLeaks was "covered by its foundation purpose."

WHS reacted by moving to Hamburg. It also filed a complaint against the revocation of its non-profit status. But the Hamburg Tax Office has now rejected that complaint. According to the tax office, the reasons for its decision expressly have to do with "the forwarding of donations to WikiLeaks and/or to the individuals behind the organization." As a result, the tax office argued, WHS "did not satisfy the condition for the direct pursuit of tax-advantaged purposes" ...

The foundation could appeal the decision, but after meeting with the tax office it has decided not to do so. "Our goal at the moment is to avoid a legal battle that could go on for years, and to regain our non-profit status so that we can become fully functional again," says foundation board member Fix.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/hamburg-revokes-2010-tax-exemption-for-wikileaks-supporter-a-865671.html

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