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Russian Embassy Accuses U.S. Of Kidnapping Suspected Cybercriminal

The Russian Embassy in Washington accused the U.S. of “kidnapping” a suspected cybercriminal arrested last week in connection with allegedly operating a prolific online hacking service.
Jurijs Martisevs was arrested June 28 in connection with allegedly helping run an online malware service accused of abetting tens of thousands of computer hackers conduct cyberattacks against American businesses and other targets dating back to 2006, the Justice Department said in a criminal indictment unsealed Wednesday.

Charging documents made public Wednesday described Mr. Martisevs as a Latvian citizen who resided between Riga and Moscow. Russia has claimed him as one of its own, however, and issued a statement Wednesday through its embassy in Washington accusing the U.S. of violating international law.

“We consider this arrest as another case of kidnapping of a Russian citizen by the U.S. authorities in violation of the current bilateral agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters as of 1999,” the embassy said through its official Facebook page.

Russia is actively monitoring the situation and has requested permission from the U.S. to visit Mr. Martisevs as soon as possible, the statement said.

“The Embassy demands from the American side unconditional observance of the legitimate rights and interests of the Russian citizen,” the embassy added.

Prosecutors say Mr. Martisevs and another Latvian, Ruslands Bondars, worked together to operate an illegal online service that catered to as many as 30,000 customers and sold “some of the most prolific malware known to the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” according to the indictment.

Each faces four counts including wire fraud and felony hacking.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond Thursday to the Russian Embassy’s claims.

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