Personal surety bonds help WikiLeaks founder out of jail

After being arrested on charges of sexual misconduct, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was released from jail on Tuesday, December 14 after posting $125,000 personal surety bonds on top of paying his $315,000 bail. Much of the money was provided by individuals acting as personal sureties.

On his way to the courtroom, Assange’s attorney said that funds for the bail had been raised by individuals who support WikiLeaks. Infamous filmmaker Michael Moore acted as a personal surety by offering $20,000. Former British Army captain Vaughn Smith offered his 600-acre country estate as a bail address as well as a financial surety for additional support in favor of Assange’s release.

Those who are excessively wealthy attract bankers and lenders who hope they will sign as personal sureties for their friends and family members who may have trouble securing a surety bond. Personal sureties are sometimes used when surety bond applicants do not meet certain financial requirements, e.g. if their credit score is too low.

If the bonded principal is unable to pay his or her debts off in the future, then the personal surety will be liable for repaying them. Essentially, any and all sureties who offer their assistance to the principal give the debtor’s lenders permission to hold them accountable for another’s debt.

When it comes the personal sureties used in Assange’s case, the providers are confident in his ability to repay them at some point in time. (After his arrest Assange’s funds had been frozen due to his scandalous illegality of his web site). If Assange fails to pay his bail bonds in full, then funds will inevitably be seized from the personal sureties who pledged their support.