Moscow Hacker Sought by U.S. Faces Russian AccusationsDavid Voreacos and Maud van Gaal
A Muscovite facing a U.S. extradition request in Amsterdam on charges he helped lead the most prolific hacking ring to hit corporate America is being pursued by Russia for similar crimes.
A Moscow judge on Sept. 12 issued what amounted to an arrest warrant for Vladimir Drinkman on accusations of cybercrime fraud, a Dutch court said in an April 16 ruling obtained today by Bloomberg News. Russia sought his extradition on Oct. 15, the court said, 14 months after the U.S. request.
“It is an old Russian trick to sabotage American extradition by concurrent request,” said Arkady Bukh, a lawyer in Brooklyn, New York, who represents hackers. “This is not the first time they are playing this.”
U.S. prosecutors in New Jersey on July 25 said Vladimir Drinkman was one of five people involved in the theft of more than 160 million credit- and debit-card numbers by hacking 17 retailers, financial institutions and payment processors, including 7-Eleven Inc., Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., Carrefour SA and J.C. Penney Co. Drinkman has been in custody in the Netherlands since his arrest on June 28, 2012, on the U.S. charges.
Russia’s request met all relevant criteria under Dutch law and the European Convention on Extradition, three judges of the Court of Rotterdam said on the same day they found a similar U.S. request admissible.
The Dutch minister of justice will decide Drinkman’s fate, according to Pelle Biesmeijer, a spokesman for the court, adding that the minister can also decide not to extradite.
Russian authorities accused Drinkman of “committing cybercrime fraud, specifically theft of goods belonging to others” by hacking computer networks, the Rotterdam court said.
According to the U.S. indictment, Drinkman was “a sophisticated hacker, who specialized in penetrating and gaining access to the computer networks of multinational corporations, financial institutions and payment processors.”
U.S. authorities said their accusations against Drinkman were based on statements from co-conspirators, from instant messages and analysis of the software used in each attack.
Drinkman, who is being held at prison Het Schouw in Amsterdam, has two weeks to appeal the rulings, Biesmeijer said. His attorney, Bart Stapert, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
The cases are UTL-I-2013052681, request of Russian Federation for extradition of Vladimir Drinkman and UTL-I-2012031777 request of U.S. for extradition of Vladimir Drinkman.