Prosecutors add new charges; Russian man says not guilty to all 40 counts

SEATTLE – A Russian man accused of hacking into U.S. businesses pleaded not guilty Thursday to new charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Roman Seleznev’s new lawyer, Steven Fogg, also told the federal judge that they “object to the manner in which Mr. Seleznev was brought into the country and we will litigate that at another time.”

Seleznev, the son of Russian Parliament member Valery Seleznev, was arrested in the Maldives in July and taken to Guam and then Seattle to face 29 charges that he hacked into the computer systems of restaurants and businesses and stole about two million credit card numbers. Last week, federal prosecutors added 11 new counts to his indictment, bringing the total number of charges to 40.

During Thursday’s arraignment, Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Barbosa said the new indictment includes a number of changes and adds wire fraud. It claims Seleznev was operating his hacking scheme as recently as July 4, the day before his arrest. The indictment includes charges of marketing and selling stolen credit card information, breaking into a protected computer, and identity theft. It also said that if convicted, he must give up any personal property used in the hacking scheme and all property and proceeds that resulted from the alleged crime.

Seleznev’s trial is set for Nov. 3, but both sides met after the hearing to discuss changing that date.

“November third is not realistic,” Fogg said.

At an earlier hearing, one of the prosecutors said this case has generated about 4 terabytes of data. The two sides have not yet started the discovery process.

Fogg also told the judge that they have resolved problems his lawyers were having while meeting with Seleznev at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center. They reached an agreement with the federal Bureau of Prisons and are able to communicate with him now, he said.

After the hearing, Andrey Yushmanov, the counsul general of the Russian Federation in Seattle, said Seleznev’s arrest and transfer to the U.S. amounted to kidnapping. He said the U.S. has a treaty with Russia that says if the U.S. is investigating someone for a crime, it will let Russian officials know so they also can investigate. Yushmanov said the U.S. did not honour the treaty in this case.

In a phone interview, Fogg said the arrest was “highly irregular and on its face, illegal.”

“He was taken from a country that doesn’t have any extradition treaty with the U.S.,” Fogg said. “We’re not talking about an alleged terrorist. He’s an accused identity thief.”

Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment about the arrest claims, adding: “We will respond at the appropriate time in court.”


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