Assange, 39, met police in London after days of speculation following the accusations. Assange, an Australian national, has reportedly been hiding in the U.K. since the avalanche of hundreds of thousands of documents detailing diplomatic cables had been leaked via his anti-secrecy Web site.
In City of Westminster Magistrate's Court Tuesday he was denied bail. Assange said he would resist extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning in connection with the alleged offenses. He has been ordered to remain in custody until a further court session on Dec. 14.
A spokesman based at Scotland Yard confirmed in a statement to PEOPLE that officers from the Metropolitan Police "extradition unit" arrested Assange Tuesday morning "on behalf of the Swedish authorities on suspicion of rape."
The charges were initially made by two women Assange had met in Sweden during a business trip to the country. Initially dropped, the case was reopened and an appeals court has upheld the original accusations. Assange now faces possible extradition.
The statement continued, "Julian Assange, 39, was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant by appointment at a London police station at 9:30 a.m. He's accused by the Swedish authorities of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, all alleged to have been committed in August 2010."
Assange's lawyer's office was not taking calls early Tuesday. But the BBC quoted his lawyer, Mark Stephens, as saying that he was looking to get some "truth, justice." He added, "Julian Assange has been the one in hot pursuit to vindicate himself to clear his good name."