HAGATNA, Guam – A federal judge in the U.S. territory of Guam denied a motion Thursday to release a Russian lawmaker’s son accused of hacking computers inside hundreds of U.S. businesses.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood ruled her court had jurisdiction over the case against Roman Seleznev and allowed it to move forward, even though his lawyers had filed a motion to dismiss.
Another ruling confirming Seleznev’s identity cleared the way for him to be sent to the state of Washington, where documents filed in federal court in Seattle allege he hacked into retailers’ computers, installed malicious software and stole credit card numbers from 2009 to 2011.
A 2011 grand jury indictment alleges Seleznev stole more than 200,000 credit card numbers and sold more than 140,000, generating more than $2 million in profits.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused the federal government of kidnapping Seleznev, the son of prominent Russian lawmaker Valery Seleznev.
Seleznev’s girlfriend, Anna Otisko, said she was with him when he was grabbed by unknown men at an airport in the Maldives, a remote island nation in the Indian Ocean. He was then put on a plane to Guam in the western Pacific.
Seleznev appeared in court dressed in khaki cargo shorts and a prison-issued blue short-sleeved T-shirt. His ankles were shackled.
U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Daniel Schwandner told the court he approached Seleznev in a tourist police station at the Maldives airport and asked if he was Seleznev. Schwandner said the man said yes.
In court, the judge advised Seleznev of his rights, including his right to waive the identity hearing and his right to plead guilty or no contest. She also asked if he had met with the Russian consul. He replied yes in English.
He was represented by attorneys Patrick Civille and Joshua Walsh, and by his side was a Russian language court interpreter. New York attorneys Robert Ray and Eli Goldin joined the defence team via telephone.
The grand jury indicted Seleznev on charges of bank fraud, obtaining information from a protected computer, aggravated identity theft, trafficking in unauthorized access devices and possessing stolen credit card numbers.
He’s also charged in a similar but separate indictment in Nevada.