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Sentencing delayed for Hamilton’s ‘hacker for hire’ in Yahoo data breach

Karim Baratov of Ancaster, Ont. will be sentenced in a San Francisco court Tuesday for his role in the 2014 Yahoo data breach. Global News File

Hamilton’s so-called “hacker for hire” has had his sentencing delayed until late next month.

Karim Baratov pleaded guilty last year to charges in connection with the massive Yahoo data breach in 2014 that compromised more than 500 million user accounts.

READ MORE: Canadian accused in Yahoo hack pleads guilty to 9 charges in U.S. court

The 23-year-old was arrested over a year ago at his home in Ancaster for computer hacking, economic espionage and other crimes, and was extradited to the U.S. where he faces a maximum sentence of over 20 years in prison.

U.S. law enforcement officials have called Baratov a “hacker-for-hire” and said he was paid by members of Russia’s Federal Security Service to access more than 80 accounts.

READ MORE: Canadian accused in Yahoo hack pleads guilty to 9 charges in U.S. court

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Outside of court in November, Baratov’s lawyers said their client hacked only eight accounts and did not know that he was working for Russian agents connected to the Yahoo breach.

The U.S. Department of Justice has asked a San Francisco federal court judge to impose a prison term of seven years and 10 months — a sentence they said is in light of the need to deter others. Baratov’s attorneys have called for a sentence of 45 months, or just under four years.

READ MORE: Alleged Yahoo hacker Karim Baratov waives right to extradition hearing

In court on Tuesday, Judge Vince Chhabria questioned the length of the sentenced proposed by government lawyers in court on Tuesday, Baratov’s legal counsel said. 

“One concern I have is that the sentence the government is requesting for Mr. Baratov relates to the fact that he’s been caught up with a codefendant who apparently was the Yahoo mega hacker,” Chhabria was quoted as saying by The Daily Beast. “Mr. Baratov did not have any involvement in the conspiracy to conduct the Yahoo mega hack.”

Robert Fantone, one of Baratov’s U.S. lawyers, said the judge is seeking additional information regarding outcomes in similar cases, and has delayed proceedings until both sides can present arguments.

Amedeo DiCarlo, Baratov’s Canadian lawyer who was also in court on Tuesday, called it a “positive breakthrough for the defence.”

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Baratov’s sentencing is expected to resume on May 29.

Fantone told Global News Radio 900 CHML that his client is “looking forward to getting some closure on this matter and moving on positively with his life.”

With files from The Associated Press

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