Switzerland extradites Russian businessman to US

The Kremlin in Moscow, September 29, 2017. Photo: Ivan Sekretarev (AP)

Swiss authorities in Zurich put Vladislav Klyushin, a Russian businessman on a large scale noted be first Kremlin tires, on a flight bound for the US on Saturday, ending a months-long extradition battle that put a damper on this summer Putin-Biden talks in Geneva.

Swiss reporters first confirmed Klyushin’s extradition on Saturday night; The US Justice Department said Monday that the 41-year-old, a top official at Moscow-based IT firm M-13, would face charges of insider trading, citing information allegedly “stolen from American computer networks”. tens of millions of dollars in illegal profits.”

Taken together, the charges carry the potential for decades in prison.

Klyushin, whose company advertises cybersecurity and media monitoring services and allegedly cooperates with the Kremlin and government ministries, has repeatedly denied the charges. in the press through his attorney, while accusing the US of having political ulterior motives.

The US law firm in Boston said that between 2018 and 2020, Klyushin and four partners enacted a plan to abuse the stock markets by stealing confidential earnings reports from several US companies. These reports allegedly allowed the group — including a former intelligence officer previously indicted by the US in a 2016 election hacking case — to buy and sell stocks armed with insider information about whether prices would rise or fall.

“As alleged, Klyushin and his co-defendants used various illegal and malicious means to access computer networks in order to carry out their illegal trading scheme,” Albert Murray III, the FBI’s assistant special agent, said in a statement.

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Ivan Ermakov, who is reportedly a former Russian military intelligence officer — one of 12 indicted in 2018 on charges of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election — is facing charges alongside Klyushin and charged with hacking at least one of the networks that are used to identify US companies including Tesla Inc., SS&C Technologies, Capstead Mortgage Corp. and Nevro Corp., the US attorney said.

In a story this month about Ilya Sachkov, another Russian businessman who has fallen from grace, Bloomberg reported that the 35-year-old, once head of a prominent security firm, may have been the target of treason after providing Western authorities with information about Klyushin. According to Bloomberg, Sachkov may also be suspected of sharing details about one of the Russian hacking teams behind the campaign to disrupt the 2016 election.

Klyushin attorney Oliver Ciric dismissed the charges of hacking and insider trading ahead of his extradition this month, telling reporters the US government’s case was a ruse to squeeze Klyushin for information about the election campaign.

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