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US charge extradited Russian businessman with hacking, insider trading

According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the hacking and insider trading scheme made a total of $82 million from 2018 through 2020. Keystone / Anonymous

The Russian businessman extradited from Switzerland to the United States and four other Russians have been charged with carrying out a $82-million (CHF75 million) insider trading scheme using data stolen during hacks of US computer networks.

US federal prosecutors in Boston announcedExternal link on Monday that Vladislav Klyushin, the Kremlin-linked Russian businessman extradited from Switzerland on December 18, has been charged with “conspiring to obtain unauthorised access to computers, and to commit wire fraud and securities fraud, and with obtaining unauthorised access to computers, wire fraud and securities fraud”.

Four other Russian nationals were also charged as part of the scheme.

Klyushin, 41, who was arrested in Sion, Switzerland, on March 21 while reportedly on a ski trip to the mountain resort of Zermatt, appeared briefly from a Massachusetts jail during a virtual court hearing. A bail hearing is tentatively set for December 23.

Prosecutors accused him and others of trading on corporate earnings reports obtained by hacking into the computer systems of two vendors that help companies filing quarterly and annual reports with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Those companies included IBM Corp, Snap and Tesla. Prosecutors said Klyushin and employees of his company M-13 LLC placed trades for themselves as well for clients in exchange for a cut of their profits.


Authorities said the computer systems were hacked into by Ivan Yermakov, an M-13 employee who was among several Russian military intelligence officers charged in 2018 with carrying out hacking schemes to interfere in the US 2016 presidential election and target anti-doping agencies.

According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which filed parallel fraud charges against the defendants Monday, they made a total of $82 million through the scheme from 2018 through 2020.

Yermakov and the three other defendants, M-13 director Nikolai Rumiantcev and two Russian businessmen, Mikhail Irzak and Igor Sladkov, remain at large.

Klyushin’s lawyers say the case is politically motivated. They argue that the real reason he was sought was his work and contacts within the Russian government. The TASS news agency cited the Russian embassy in Switzerland as saying it was another episode in Washington’s ongoing ‘hunt’ for Russians.

The US embassy in Bern formally requested Klyushin’s extradition in April on the basis of the bilateral extradition treaty between Switzerland and the US. Klyushin’s appeal against Swiss extradition was dismissed by the Federal Court on December 10.

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