Russian hacker to appeal ‘illegal’ arrest in Maldives after conviction

Alleged Russian hacker Roman Seleznev pictured with his girlfriend and daughter in the Maldives days before his arrest.

Alleged Russian hacker Roman Seleznev pictured with his girlfriend and daughter in the Maldives days before his arrest.

Russian hacker Roman Seleznev is set to appeal his conviction claiming that his arrest in the Maldives in 2014 was “illegal.”

Computer wizard Roman Seleznev has been found guilty in the US of running a hacking scheme that stole $169m (£131m).

The hacking scheme he ran from 2008 to 2014 targeted US pizza chains in Washington state.

According to US prosecutors, the 30-year-old son of prominent Russian lawmaker Valery Seleznev hacked into retail point-of-sale systems and installed malware in order to steal more than two million credit card numbers from businesses between October 2009 and October 2013.

The jury in the trial found him guilty on 38 out of 40 charges including fraud and ID theft.

Seleznev will be sentenced on 2 December and faces a mandatory jail term of four years.

In July 2014, US secret service agents detained Seleznev in the Maldives, took him to Guam and then transferred him to Seattle before he boarded his flight home to Russia after vacationing with his family in the island nation.

Lawyers acting for the hacker said they planned to appeal against the conviction.

The appeal will seek to challenge what his legal team described as his “illegal arrest” in 2014 as well as a separate ruling that let the government use evidence from a corrupted laptop seized when he was arrested.

“If Roman was Canadian, this case would never have happened,” Seleznev’s lawyer John Henry Browne told the Wall Street Journal. “There was definitely politics involved in this.”

Russia has also lodged official complaints about Seleznev’s seizure and extradition saying it pointed to a campaign by US authorities to “hunt” Russians all over the world.

The US Department of Justice said Seleznev “was prosecuted for his conduct not his nationality”.

US Attorneys had said Seleznev’s detention had been carried out by US agents with permission from Maldivian authorities.

“The Maldives does not have an extradition treaty with the United States, there is not a formal agreement. So the US agents called the Maldivians and they told them about Roman Seleznev, and they asked for help. And the Maldivians agreed to hand Mr Seleznev over to the US authorities,” Assistant US Attorney Seth Wilkinson had said earlier.

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