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US jury convicts Russian businessman in $90-million hacking and insider trading scheme


By Sean Lyngaas, CNN

A federal jury in Boston has convicted a prominent Russian businessman for his alleged role in a $90-million insider trading scheme that involved hacking into companies and viewing financial data before it became public.

Vladislav Klyushin, whose cybersecurity firm reportedly contracted with the Kremlin, was convicted after a 10-day trial of conspiring to commit wire and securities fraud, and of a hacking-related charge, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Marc Fernich, Klyushin’s lawyer, told CNN he was “disappointed” in the verdict and called the case “politically motivated.” He pledged to appeal.

Klyushin faces up to 30 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, according to Justice Department officials.

Swiss authorities arrested Klyushin, who is now 42, in March 2021 and extradited him to the US in December 2021.

Klyushin’s relationship with one alleged Russian intelligence officer, former US officials previously told CNN, would have been of keen interest for US officials trying to glean more intelligence on Russia’s spying efforts.

One of Klyushin’s co-defendants in the securities fraud case is Ivan Ermakov, who was one of a dozen Russian military officers whom a federal grand jury indicted in 2018 for interfering in the 2016 election by hacking and leaking documents from the Democratic National Committee.

Ermakov is still at large, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Prosecutors said Ermakov worked at Klyushin’s cybersecurity firm, M-13, which claims to offer “IT solutions to the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation,” among other government agencies, according to its website.

Klyushin wrote to Ermakov, whom the Justice Department describes as a now-former GRU officer, in May 2019 describing the nearly $1 million in profits the scheme had netted for one account over the previous seven months, according to a federal indictment.

Klyushin’s case has not been short on geopolitical intrigue. It has unfolded amid Cold War-level tensions between US and Russia because of the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.

Oliver Ciric, a lawyer who represented Klyushin in Switzerland, previously claimed that US intelligence officials had tried to recruit Klyushin in the south of France in 2019 and that British intelligence did the same in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2020.

The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not respond to that claim a year ago. The UK Foreign Office declined to comment.

Klyushin is scheduled to be sentenced on May 4.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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