Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson, a director of payments processor DataCell, is offering to transport whistleblower and former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden to Iceland if that country grants him asylum, according to Reuters.
Sigurvinsson told Reuters a private jet is in place in China, and it could transport Snowden to Iceland as soon as possible. Reuters also reported the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has been approached by an intermediary in an effort to bring Snowden to Iceland.
"The Ministry of the Interior has not received any formal application regarding Edward Snowden's case," said Johannes Tomasson, a spokesman for the Icelandic ministry, in an email to PaymentsSource on June 21.
Sigurvinsson says he hopes the Icelandic government will promise to not extradite Snowden to the U.S., and is also that he hopes Snowden will become a citizen of Iceland, according to Reuters.
DataCell previously joined WikiLeaks in filing a complaint with the European Commission against Visa and MasterCard, which had blocked payments to WikiLeaks. The card networks later decided to allow DataCell to accept donations. DataCell did not return a request for comment by deadline.
Tomasson said Kristinn Hrafnsson [a WikiLeaks representative] requested a meeting on Snowden's case and was granted that meeting, which included a discussion of Iceland's asylum rules.
"The legislation is general and applies equally to everyone. In order to apply for asylum in Iceland, the individual in question must be present in Iceland and make the application in his or her own name," Tomasson said in the email.
Snowden worked for the NSA in Hawaii, and recently provided details on government surveillance programs to The Guardian and The Washington Post. He is believed to be in Hong Kong.