Julian Assange spent seven years at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and it cost the South American country nearly $10 million.

Ecuador's foreign minister Jose Valencia has detailed the money spent by the country to keep the 47-year-old WikiLeaks founder safe since August 16, 2012, when he first arrived at the embassy.

Most of the $10m (about $8.7m) was spent on his security.

Ecuador also spent $590,000 on medical expenses, food and laundry for Assange.


Another $445,000 was spent providing legal advice for him.

Assange was arrested on Thursday after Ecuador withdrew his diplomatic asylum.

He had reportedly been paying for his own upkeep since the beginning of December last year.

The government of Ecuador said the money spent on Assange could have funded 155 state houses, 88 community schools and a health centre.

Arrogance, filth and foul manners

After seven years holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy, Julian Assange finally outstayed his welcome, says the Telegraph's Harry de Quetteville.

In the end, he was right about one thing.

Assange, who entered Ecuador's cramped embassy in London in 2012, once predicted his time there would last "five to seven years".

By Thursday, the seventh anniversary of the moment he first entered 3 Hans Crescent was fast approaching. Seven years ago he was shown along a short corridor to his bedroom - a converted ladies lavatory. It was to become almost 2500 days of self-imposed exile, though he preferred the term "unlawful detention".


Either way, it didn't end as he hoped. Assange had bet on his capacity to outlast his pursuers: in Sweden, where he faced charges of rape and molestation; in the UK, where he was wanted for skipping bail; and in America, where prosecutors alleged he played a key role in the most notorious intelligence breach of the modern age.

But justice remained patient as diplomatic wheels turned. British and American officials nurtured a better relationship with Ecuador's current president, Lenín Moreno, than they had enjoyed with his predecessor, Rafael Correa, the man who initially conferred his nation's protection, and later, passport, upon Assange.

And Assange, like so many house guests, outstayed his welcome.

Many tales have been told of his appalling manners: how he ate with his hands and rarely showered, of his "many casual libels, sexist or anti-Semitic remarks", and his failure to clean up after the cat he kept there.

Above all, it seems, his hosts - like so many who have met him, then liked and offered to help him - eventually identified something they could not tolerate: an overbearing narcissism that downgraded the concerns and lives of others to walk-on parts in his own all-consuming drama.

Such was the character who reportedly walked around the embassy in his underwear, skateboarded along corridors and played loud music at night, was rude to staff and, according to María Paula Romo, Ecuador's Interior Minister "smeared faeces on the walls".

Assange, perhaps, considered that a noble "dirty protest" against a host he latterly came to accuse of plotting against and spying on him.

Julian Assange arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London. Photo / Getty Images
Julian Assange arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London. Photo / Getty Images

To Moreno, who blames Assange's not-for-profit organisation for leaking details of what could be a damaging political scandal - as well as personal photos - it was just another outrageous smear. Assange, he said during a speech explaining his decision to renounce protection and strip his Ecuadorian citizenship, was a "spoiled brat".

So, instead of leaving a free man, Assange, now 47, was bundled into the back of a police van to face near instant trial for skipping bail. Assange's behaviour, in the words of the judge, "is that of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests".

For Assange, who once said that he was prepared for the embassy building to be stormed, and equipped to chain himself to the Ecuadorian consul, the end was not how he'd imagined. He appeared in handcuffs, and seemed a changed man. He looked puffy and bloated, his skin pallid, with a long, wispy beard in place of the sharply-trimmed goatee that once adorned his boyish features.

Time, and the almost surreal conditions of his existence in the embassy, had aged him. Shut off (both physically and, since his internet connection was withdrawn last year, digitally), the boundaries of his world stretched a mere 330 square feet. The window in his bedroom was frosted but, concerned about surveillance and threats to his safety, he kept the curtains drawn anyway ("a lot of people in America want me dead").

On Friday, a member of his team suggested that, so long deprived of sunlight, Assange was now struggling with his teeth and bones. He began to look somewhat wasted. One aide described his time in confinement as akin to "living in a space shuttle" - ironic given that Nasa was one of the first major US institutions, along with the Pentagon, which Assange hacked into as a teenager in his native Australia.

- With the Daily Telegraph UK