At the end of December 2021, the accused and arrested Russian citizen Vladislav Klyushin was silently extradited from Switzerland to the USA. A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Switzerland, Vladimir Khokhlov, was quoted by TASS and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty as saying, âWe are forced to admit that we are facing another episode in Washingtonâs ongoing hunt for Russian citizens in third countries do have. âKhokhlov was wrong – Klyushin is the latest in an ever-growing list of people arrested, detained, and subsequently extradited to the United States after being charged with cybercrime.
Klyushin’s arrest and extradition
On March 21, 2021, Klyushin and his family arrived in Sion, Switzerland on a private jet for a family vacation. He was arrested on arrival. In April 2021, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) officially filed for extradition of Klyushin for “allegedly participating in a global scheme to trade non-public information stolen from US computer networks that has tens of millions of dollars in illicit profits Brought in dollars. âAccording to DoJ. Interestingly, the Russian Federation applied for his extradition in March 2021. The Swiss Federal Office of Justice rejected Russia’s application and granted the US application. On December 18, he was extradited to Boston, Massachusetts.
Klyushin’s alleged crime
The multi-count indictment (22-page pdf) unsealed after Klyushin’s extradition details Klyushin’s alleged association with Russian cyber criminals and his role in a conspiracy “to gain unauthorized access to computers and to commit wire fraud and securities fraud, and with the achievement of “Unauthorized Access to Computers, Wire Transfer Fraud and Securities Fraud.”
His co-defendant Ivan Ermakov (alias Yermakov) was an officer in the Russian GRU (Russian Main Intelligence Directorate – Military Intelligence) and was previously charged in July 2018 for his role in “hacking and influencing the US in 2016″ elections. “
Klyushin, Ermakov, and one other co-defendant all worked for the Russian IT technology company M-13. The marketing content on the M-13 website indicated that its solutions are used by the Russian Federation, including the offices of the President and numerous other federal ministries and ministries.
They allegedly hacked into two separate U.S. filing agents used by U.S. companies to file required filings with the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) and to access information about upcoming public financial statements. The information gained during these forays allegedly gave the co-conspirators the opportunity to conduct financial transactions based on inside information and generate lucrative returns from buying / selling stocks. The success of the co-conspirators is underscored by a message from Klyushin to investors: âWatch out for stocks of [company] now and tomorrow after 1630 and how much they go up. âThe indictments against Klyushin’s co-conspirators list the various companies whose financial documents, destined for SEC filing, were compromised.
Klyushin and Ermakov’s relationship
The relationship between Ermakov and Klyushin – both employed by M-13, both with ties to government agencies within the Russian Federation – deserves recognition. Although publicly available information about the exact nature of their cooperation is limited to the aforementioned indictment, which was unsealed upon Klyushin’s extradition, it suggests that Klyushin may have information on Russian active measures against the US obtained from discussions with his colleague Ermakov .
Given Russia’s concerted efforts to extradite Klyushin on fraud allegations filed immediately after Klyushin’s arrest in Switzerland in March 2021, Klyushin seems special. Indeed, the urgency with which Russia attempted to return Klyushin to his homeland has fueled speculation that, given his documented close collaboration with the Kremlin, he may have insight into the decision-making process within the Russian Federation’s Active Action Campaign and / or the support of Cyber ââcriminals through the Kremlin.