Why did Ecuador give up Assange after seven years?

Updated 9:28 AM EDT, Sat April 13, 2019
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05:  Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy where  he continues to seek asylum following an extradition request from Sweden in 2012, on February 5, 2016 in London, England. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has insisted that Mr Assange
PHOTO: Carl Court/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy where he continues to seek asylum following an extradition request from Sweden in 2012, on February 5, 2016 in London, England. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has insisted that Mr Assange's detention should be brought to an end. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:39
Who is Julian Assange?
CATANIA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 18, 2021 - Mount Etna erupts in Sicily sending plumes of ash and spewing lava into air - PHOTOGRAPH BY Marco Restivo / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Marco Restivo/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
CATANIA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 18, 2021 - Mount Etna erupts in Sicily sending plumes of ash and spewing lava into air - PHOTOGRAPH BY Marco Restivo / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Marco Restivo/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Now playing
01:04
See mesmerizing footage of Mount Etna spewing lava
Vials of vaccine are packed at the Generium Pharmaceutical plant, which is gearing up production of Sputnik V.
PHOTO: CNN
Vials of vaccine are packed at the Generium Pharmaceutical plant, which is gearing up production of Sputnik V.
Now playing
03:21
Exclusive: Inside Russia's new Covid-19 vaccine factory
el chapo who is rs orig_00000406.jpg
el chapo who is rs orig_00000406.jpg
Now playing
00:57
Who is 'El Chapo'?
screengrab codogno lockdown one year on
PHOTO: CNN
screengrab codogno lockdown one year on
Now playing
02:20
Residents in Italian town reflect on life one year under pandemic
People clean tar from an oil spill in the Mediterranean sea in Gador nature reserve near Hadera, Israel, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Hundreds of volunteers are taking part in a cleanup operation of Israeli shoreline as investigations are underway to determine the cause of an oil spill that threatens the beach and wildlife, at Gador Nature Reserve near the northern city of Hadera, the tar smeared fish, turtles, and other sea creatures.
PHOTO: Ariel Schalit/AP
People clean tar from an oil spill in the Mediterranean sea in Gador nature reserve near Hadera, Israel, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Hundreds of volunteers are taking part in a cleanup operation of Israeli shoreline as investigations are underway to determine the cause of an oil spill that threatens the beach and wildlife, at Gador Nature Reserve near the northern city of Hadera, the tar smeared fish, turtles, and other sea creatures.
Now playing
01:10
Oil spill leads Israel to close beaches
Now playing
03:26
CNN speaks with sister of slain Myanmar protest victim
Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving his speech to Parliament, in in the House of Commons, London, about setting out the road map for easing coronavirus restrictions across England. Picture date: Monday February 22, 2021. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)
PHOTO: House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images
Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving his speech to Parliament, in in the House of Commons, London, about setting out the road map for easing coronavirus restrictions across England. Picture date: Monday February 22, 2021. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:09
Here's what we know about England's reopening plans
Luca Attanasio - The ambassador killed in DR Congo. He and the military were traveling aboard a car in a MONUSCO convoy, the United Nations stabilization mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
PHOTO: Italian Embassy Kinshasa
Luca Attanasio - The ambassador killed in DR Congo. He and the military were traveling aboard a car in a MONUSCO convoy, the United Nations stabilization mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Now playing
01:43
What we know about the killing of Italy's ambassador to the DRC
Iraq Baghdad coronavirus Covid-19 ICU Damon pkg intl hnk vpx_00002701.png
Iraq Baghdad coronavirus Covid-19 ICU Damon pkg intl hnk vpx_00002701.png
Now playing
03:27
Rare access inside a hospital shows how Iraq is handling Covid-19
PHOTO: Track 88
Now playing
02:00
Footage shows debris from plane in Dutch town
Taktshang Goemba(Tiger
PHOTO: Shutterstock
Taktshang Goemba(Tiger's Nest Monastery), Monastery, Bhutan, in a mountain cliff.
Now playing
03:24
This country still only has 1 reported death from Covid-19
Police security stand guard behind a road barricade in Mandalay, Myanmar Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. A young woman who was shot in the head by police during a protest last week against the military
PHOTO: AP
Police security stand guard behind a road barricade in Mandalay, Myanmar Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. A young woman who was shot in the head by police during a protest last week against the military's takeover of power in Myanmar died Friday morning, her brother said. (AP Photo)
Now playing
03:00
Pro-democracy protesters in Myanmar met with violence
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
03:38
Olympics chief row reveals a deeper problem in Japanese politics
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
05:40
Beijing faces new abuse claims from Xinjiang
A screen shot of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
PHOTO: GPO
A screen shot of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Now playing
02:47
Israeli opposition horrified by Netanyahu deal with homophobic party
(CNN) —  

Hours after Julian Assange was ousted from his diplomatic refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the country released a laundry list of alleged transgressions which brought the WikiLeaks founder’s seven-year residency to an end.

Foreign Minister José Valencia and Interior Minister María Paula Romo accused Assange of riding scooters around the cramped embassy hallways, insulting staff and smearing feces on the walls.

But while Ecuador had undoubtedly tired of its London house guest, the motivations for stripping Assange of his asylum and allowing in officers of the Metropolitan Police are likely to have been more complex.

WikiLeaks had already been needling the Ecuadorian authorities in other ways. For months, Assange had been pursuing a legal action against the Ecuadorian government, accusing it of violating his rights by introducing strict new house rules for living at the embassy. An Ecuadorian judge rejected the assertions last October.

Quito was also irritated by Assange’s support for the Catalonian independence movement: Its Foreign Ministry told Assange to refrain from making statements that could impair Ecuador’s relations with other countries, including Spain.

More recently, WikiLeaks got personal. On March 25, WikiLeaks posted a tweet bringing attention to a corruption probe that Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno is facing. It linked to an anonymously registered website hosting a vast trove of leaked emails, text messages and other documents pertaining to Moreno’s private life.

The Ecuadorian government blamed WikiLeaks for the leaked documents, dubbed the INA Papers, an allegation that WikiLeaks denies.

For WikiLeaks and its supporters, the Ecuadorian government tried to use the INA Papers leak as yet another pretext to terminate Assange’s asylum.

Moreno has denied any wrongdoing. The attorney general’s office has launched an investigation into the allegations. WikiLeaks denied any involvement in the release of the INA Papers, but that hasn’t stopped Moreno from pointing the finger at Assange and WikiLeaks.

Assange does not have the right to “hack accounts or personal phones,” Moreno told the Ecuadorian Radio Broadcasters’ Association last Tuesday

Over the weekend, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Relations ramped up the rhetoric against Assange when it put out a fiery statement rejecting “the fake news that has circulated in the last few days on social media, many of them spread by an organization linked to Mr. Julian Assange.”

Relations between Assange and Ecuador deteriorated further on Wednesday when WikiLeaks called a press conference and claimed the group had discovered a spying operation against Assange from within the embassy.

Speaking to reporters in London, Kristinn Hrafnsson, the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, said Ecuador had made surreptitious video and audio recordings of Assange and his interactions at the embassy, including a medical examination and meetings with legal representatives.

’Biggest betrayal’

Assange is Australian but had been granted Ecuadorian naturalization in 2017. Less than 24 hours after WikiLeaks’ press conference, Assange’s Ecuadorian citizenship had been revoked, his asylum rescinded, and embassy officials had invited the Metropolitan Police over to forcibly remove him.

Moves against WikiLeaks were not just taking place in London. In Ecuador, the Interior Ministry announced that it had arrested a “close collaborator” of Assange at Quito’s airport as he was preparing to fly to Japan on Thursday.

Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo told CNN that the individual under arrest is Ola Bini, a Swedish software developer who she said had visited the Ecuadorian Embassy in London several times.

Romo said at a press conference Thursday that Bini, Assange and WikiLeaks have been trying to destabilize the government of Moreno. She accused Bini of working with with Ricardo Patiño, who was foreign minister during the government of former President Rafael Correa, who granted asylum to Assange.

“For several years now, one of the key members of the WikiLeaks organization and a person close to Assange has lived in Ecuador,” Romo said at the press conference.

Correa told CNN Thursday that the decision by his successor to revoke Assange’s asylum status was “the biggest betrayal perhaps in Latin American history.”

Hyperbole, perhaps. But whatever the truth, the story of Assange’s turbulent 2,488 days in the Ecuadorian Embassy isn’t over yet.

CNN’s Claudia Rebaza contributed to this story.