Hacking accused could die in US prison

MOSCOW: RUSSIA: The father of a Russian man detained by the US on hacking charges warned on that his son would die without medical help, in yet another spat between Moscow and Washington.
Valery Seleznev says his son, hacker son, Roman might die in a US prison unless he's kept on appropriate medication. Image:
Valery Seleznev says his son, hacker son, Roman might die in a US prison unless he's kept on appropriate medication. Image: Internet Vietnam
Russia has accused US authorities of abducting Roman Seleznev in the Maldives and secretly transporting him to the American territory of Guam in a case that further piqued Kremlin's anger amid a showdown over Ukraine.

He faces up to 30 years in prison for hacking into US retail computer systems between October 2009 and February 2011 and installing malicious software onto these systems in order to steal credit card numbers .

The man's father, Valery Seleznev, told a news conference that his son was disabled and could die within days if he did not receive regular medical treatment.

According to family members, Roman Seleznev suffered brain damage in a bomb attack in Morocco in 2011 and has problems with his motor skills.

"If he does not take medication for three, five days at the most then... he will die and die very soon," Valery Seleznev said.

"One of the goals is to let him rot there," he said.

'Track2' netted millions of stolen dollars

According to the 2011 indictment Roman Seleznev and his accomplices are accused of stealing over 200,000 credit card numbers in a scheme that cost banks more than $1.1m.

If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison on bank fraud charges and additional jail time for other charges.

According to US officials, the suspect, who prior to his arrest lived in the Russian city of Vladivostok, was known under the moniker "Track2" among those in the hacker community.

Valery Seleznev, a lawmaker in the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, said US officials were pressuring his son to incriminate himself.

He dismissed the charges, saying his son was not a hacker and knew "nothing about these new technologies".

"My son is sticking to his guns," he said. "Right now they are piling pressure on him."

Prison deal on the cards?

"The lawyers describe the (current) prison as one of the worst prisons under US jurisdiction," he said, adding that officials had promised to transfer him to Seattle if he admitted his guilt.

The Russian foreign ministry has accused Washington of abducting one of its nationals in what it described as a "hostile" act.

The ministry's Human Rights Envoy, Konstantin Dolgov, said a Russian diplomat was due to visit Roman Seleznev in prison.

Russia has said Roman's "abduction" is the latest in a string of unlawful arrests of its nationals by the US, including that of so-called "merchant of death" Viktor Bout, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for arms trafficking.

A cybercrime expert, who spoke to Russia's Novaya Gazeta newspaper on condition of anonymity, suggested that the US Secret Service may be behind the suspect's detention.

He said several recently arrested cyber criminals may be accused of being members of a group that is being run from Moscow.

Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen said his government acted alone in expelling the suspect, stressing it was responding to an Interpol arrest warrant.

"This is a monstrous lie," Valery Seleznev told reporters, pointing out that the people who detained his son in the Male airport wore shorts and backpacks, posing as tourists.

"Do you believe that this operation was conducted by the Maldivian security services?" he asked.

Source: AFP via I-Net Bridge


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