Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Russian hacker can be extradited to US or Russia

Published:Wednesday | May 31, 2017 | 5:00 AM

PRAGUE (AP):

A Czech court ruled yesterday that a Russian man who faces charges of hacking computers at American companies can be extradited either to the United States or Russia and the suspect immediately appealed his possible extradition to the United States.

Czech authorities arrested Yevgeniy Nikulin in Prague in cooperation with the FBI in October after Interpol issued an international warrant. He is accused of stealing information from LinkedIn, Dropbox and other companies.

Moscow also wants him extradited on a separate charge of internet theft in 2009. Russian officials had previously said they were working to prevent his extradition to the US.

The 29-year-old has denied wrongdoing.

"I'm innocent," Nikulin said through a translator at the hearing yesterday. "I haven't done anything illegal. I have nothing to do with that."

Nikulin appealed his extradition to the United States. He has three days to decide if he will agree to being extradited to Russia. Justice Minister Robert Pelikan will have the final say on where Nikulin goes after Prague's High Court decides his appeal.

 

POLITICAL REASONS

 

Nikulin's defence lawyers have said the US charges were based on one FBI agent, and suggested the US was seeking him for political reasons to use him as a pawn in the investigation into alleged Russian hacking in the US election.

The US has accused Russia of coordinating the theft and disclosure of emails from the Democratic National Committee, and other institutions and individuals in the US, to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Russia has vigorously denied that.