Moscow: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he has signed contracts worth $1.5 million for penning his autobiography.
Assange, whose whistleblowing website has provoked US rage by releasing secret diplomatic documents, said the money will help him to defend himself against the sexual assault claims made by two women in Sweden, which he denies.
"I don`t want to write this book, but I have to," he told The Sunday Times in an interview. "I have already spent 200,000 pounds for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat."
The 39-year-old Australian said he will receive $800,000 from a US publisher Alfred Knopf and $500,000 from a British deal with Canongate. The total sum from the deals, including those with other markets, will reach over $1.5 million.
The WikiLeaks founder was released on bail by a British court last week and vowed that he would continue his work.
Assange has been staying at a friend`s Norfolk mansion in eastern England since his release from jail Dec 16 on strict bail conditions that include reporting to police daily and wearing an electronic tag.
World leaders and diplomats have downplayed the impact of the leak of more than 250,000 confidential US diplomatic cables by the WikiLeaks site.