A Russian businessman and accused hacker may have critical information about Russian interference in the United States in 2016. presidential elections, according to a recent report from Bloomberg. Fortunately for the American authorities, the businessman in question was arrested and recently extradited to the United States on unrelated criminal charges.
Vladislav Kljušin, The 41-year-old owner of Russia’s IT firm M-13 has provided cybersecurity services to Russia’s top government agencies – making him, Bloomberg said, “the Kremlin’s top insider recently handed over to US law enforcement.”
He was arrested near an alpine ski resort in Switzerland in late March while he and his wife and children were on their way to a family vacation. (Switzerland—unlike Russia—Has an official extradition agreement with the United States) He is subsequent extradited to the United States in mid-December.
The extradition is related to an April 2020 indictment against Kljušin and two colleagues, Ivan Jermakov and Nikolai Rumyantsev, are accused of elaborating an insider trading scheme. The trio allegedly hacked the federal agencies responsible for keeping records of U.S. company earnings, and then used that information to trade company stocks before the reports were made public. In this way, they reportedly earned more than $ 82.5 million by placing heavy-duty stores related to companies such as Tesla, Microsoft, Snap Inc. and others.
Kljušin’s lawyer Oliver Ćirić claims that the American authorities illegally hacked the businessman’s phone in order to locate him and thus the alert Swiss police about his presence in their country. Ciric on he told Bloomberg that US officials believe that Klyushin may have important information about Russia’s efforts to influence the US p.residential elections and that he could be persuaded to give up that information in exchange for a potential reprieve from a long prison sentence in connection with his accusations of insider trading.
What kind of information could Kljušin have? According to sources interviewed by Bloomberg, Russian intelligence services believed that the businessman possessed documents proving that hackers working for the Russian military intelligence agency, GRU, broke into the servers of the Democratic Party in 2016. However, the specific content of these hypothetical documents are, as well as the existence of documents, unknown at this time.
Russian interference in the 2016 elections is natural a complex, often murky topichowever, in this case, Kljušin seems to have something to do with it. One of his accomplices in the insider trading case, Ivan Yermakov, was accused In 2018, as one of 12 Russian citizens accused of hacking various organizations of the Democratic Party in order to influence the elections. All operatives – including Jermakov – have been described as members of the GRU.
For his part, Kljušin did not publicly admit anything. Through his lawyer, a businessman blamed his arrest on an “operation launched by the United States in cooperation with the Swiss authorities” in order to obtain “certain confidential information” that Americans believe he possesses, Bloomberg reports.
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