On Tuesday, a federal jury in Boston arrested a prominent Russian businessman on charges of hacking companies and watching financial information before it was released in a $90 million insider trading scheme.
The Justice Department said in a statement that the cybersecurity firm’s alleged Kremlin contractor, Vladislav Klyushin, was arrested on 10-day charges of wire and securities fraud conspiracy and hacking.
Closhin’s attorney, Mark Fernich, told media groups he was “disappointed” by the jury’s verdict and called the case “politically motivated.” He promised to appeal to the court.
Klyushin, who is said to have close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, faces up to 30 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, Justice Department officials said. Closhin, now 42, was arrested by Swiss authorities in March 2021 and extradited to the United States in December 2021.
Former U.S. officials have previously told the media that Kloshin’s relationship with a Russian intelligence officer was of interest to U.S. officials trying to obtain more information about Russian intelligence efforts.
Ivan Ermakov, one of a dozen Russian military officers indicted by Klyushin in the securities fraud case, is one of a dozen Russian military officers indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly interfering in the 2016 election by hacking and leaking Democratic National Committee documents.
On Tuesday, the Department of Justice Ermakov is still in custody.
Prosecutors said Ermakov worked for Klyushin’s cyber security firm M-13, which provided “IT solutions to the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation” along with other government agencies, according to its website.
In the year In May 2019, Klyushin detailed nearly $1 million in profits per account over the previous seven months to Ermakov, whom the Justice Department identified as a former GRU officer, according to a federal indictment.
The Kloshin case has brought geopolitical tensions into greater focus. The Kremlin’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine in February of last year has brought tensions between the US and Russia to the level of the Cold War.
Oliver Siric, a Swiss-based lawyer representing Kloshin, confirmed that US intelligence officials had previously tried to recruit Kloshin in southern France in 2019, and that British intelligence had carried out a similar move in 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not respond to this request last year. The UK Foreign Office declined to comment on the matter.
Kliushin may be sentenced on May 4.
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