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British interior minister Priti Patel on Friday approved the extradition of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange to the United States to face criminal charges, bringing his long-running legal saga closer to a conclusion.

Assange is wanted by U.S. authorities on 18 counts, including a spying charge, relating to WikiLeaks’ release of vast troves of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables which Washington said had put lives in danger.

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