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Suspected Russian Hacker Indicted in US

  • VOA News

A screen grab of 29-year-old Yevgeniy Nikulin of Russia, who is suspected of hacking U.S. targets.

A screen grab of 29-year-old Yevgeniy Nikulin of Russia, who is suspected of hacking U.S. targets.

The Russian national who was accused by American officials of hacking U.S. targets and arrested earlier this month in the Czech capital was indicted by a federal grand jury in the state of California, U.S. officials said Friday.

Yevgeniy Nikulin, 29, of Moscow was arrested October 5 by officials in Prague, where he remains in custody, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.

In the indictment, filed Thursday, Nikulin was charged with computer intrusion and identity theft.

Czech authorities this week said the suspect was detained in downtown Prague in response to an Interpol warrant issued at the request of the United States, and he now faces a Czech extradition hearing, according to RFE/RL's Current Time TV.

Hours after news emerged of Nikulin's arrest, the professional networking service LinkedIn issued a statement suggesting the development was connected to a 2012 breach of its members' information. In May, LinkedIn acknowledged that intrusion compromised more than 100 million of its users' passwords.​

No date has been set for Nikulin's extradition hearing, but Czech authorities said the man would remain in custody until that process.

The Russian Embassy in Prague told Current Time that Moscow will be seeking his return to Russia. Moscow, an embassy source said, rejects "the U.S. practice of forcing the entire world to enforce its extraterritorial jurisdiction."

WATCH: Czech police arrest Russian accused of cybercrimes

Interpol had issued a so-called Red Notice for the alleged Russian hacker, a designation for "wanted international fugitives."

Current Time's investigation uncovered Nikulin's Instagram account under the handle "i.tak.soidet," displaying a taste for luxury cars and jewelry and a digital trail that led through Belarus and Poland to the Czech Republic during the weeks before he was arrested.

The Instagram account went private shortly after Current Time's Russian-language report was published October 20. Soon after that, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed Nikulin’s identity for journalists in Moscow.

"The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Embassy in Prague are actively working with the Czech authorities to prevent the extradition of a Russian citizen to the United States," she added.

The detention of Nikulin shows Washington is mounting a global manhunt against Russian citizens, Reuters quoted Zakharova as saying Thursday.

Jeff Seldin, VOA's National Security Correspondent, and RFE/RL's Dmitry Treshchanin and Nick Shchetko contributed to this report. Some material for this report came from Reuters.

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