Czech police arrest Russian hacker wanted by U.S. for suspected cyber-attack
PRAGUE, Czech Republic – Czech police have arrested a Russian hacker suspected of cyber-attacks in the United States, officials said on Wednesday.
Police said an international warrant for the man, who was not named, was issued by Interpol and that officers co-operated with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation on the case.
Police spokesman Jozef Bocan said the man was arrested in a Prague hotel. After the arrest the suspect collapsed, received first aid treatment and was hospitalized, Bocan said.
Another police spokesman, David Schoen, told The Associated Press the arrest took place on Oct. 5 and that police delayed releasing information about it for “tactical” reasons.
Police video from the arrest, obtained by the AP, identified the man only as Yevgeniy N.
In a Wednesday statement, the FBI said the man was “suspected of conducting criminal activities targeting U.S. interests,” but didn’t give any more details. “As cybercrime can originate anywhere in the world, international co-operation is crucial to successfully defeat cyber adversaries,” it said.
Prague’s Municipal Court will now have to decide on his extradition to the United States, with Justice Minister Robert Pelikan having the final say. Russian officials, however, are demanding that the suspect be handed over to them.
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Spokeswoman Marketa Puci said the court ruled on Oct. 12 that the man will remain in detention until the extradition hearing. No date has yet been set.
U.S. authorities have two months to deliver to their Czech counterparts all the documents necessary for the Czech authorities to decide on the extradition request.
Stepanka Zenklova, spokeswoman for Prague’s state prosecution, said U.S. officials have not officially asked for the man’s extradition.
Russia’s TASS and RIA Novosti news agencies quoted Prague’s Russian Embassy spokesman Alexey Kolmakov as saying that it was insisting that the suspect be handed over to Russia.
“The embassy has been taking all necessary efforts to protect the interests of this Russian citizen. We are in contact with his attorney,” the embassy statement said.
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“Russia repudiates Washington’s policy of imposing its extraterritorial jurisdiction on all countries. We insist that the detainee is handed over to Russia.”
Justice Ministry Tereza Schejbalova said her ministry has not received any official request from Russia in this case.
The U.S. has accused Russia of co-ordinating the theft and disclosure of emails from the Democratic National Committee and other institutions and individuals in the U.S. to influence the outcome of the election. Russia has vigorously denied that.
There was no indication this case had anything to do with that accusation.
Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed.
© 2016 The Canadian Press