LONDON — Swedish prosecutors on Friday announced they were dropping their investigation into a rape allegation against Julian Assange after nearly seven years.

British police said, however, that he still faced arrest on charges of jumping bail if he left the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he has been living.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said in a statement that Sweden’s Director of Public Prosecution, Marianne Ny, “today decided to discontinue the investigation” into a rape claim against Assange.

The controversial WikiLeaks founder has been holed up in the Ecuadoraan embassy since June 2012 when he sought refuge there in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning over alleged sex crimes.

Assange disputed the allegations and argued that if he was sent to Sweden, he risked being extradited to the United States and tried for espionage for releasing confidential military and diplomatic cables.

In response to Friday’s announcement, WikiLeaks said that the focus would now shift to Britain.


“UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to UK,” the anti-secrecy website tweeted.

The British police, however, said that the 45-year-old Australian is still wanted for jumping bail and would face arrest if he walked out of the Ecuadorean embassy, located in London’s posh Knightsbridge neighborhood.

In a statement, the London Metropolitan Police said: “Westminster Magistrates’ Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012. The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy.”

In this Feb. 5, 2016, photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Assange will be interviewed about Swedish sex crime allegations at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. The interview will be conducted by an Ecuadorean prosecutor, with a Swedish prosecutor present.

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