Kremlin Insider Arrested in U.S. Hacking and Insider-Trading

Russian technology executive with links to the Kremlin has pleaded not guilty U.S. to charges that led to an insider trading ring that made multi-millions of dollars hacking into systems used to file quarterly earnings reports by public companies.

Vladislav Klyushin (41), entered the plea before U.S. Magistrate Marianne Bowler in Boston federal court and stated that he was “absolutely innocent” of the first count of the indictment against him for conspiracy and also not guilty to the other three counts. He was placed in detention pending trial, even though he offered a London apartment as collateral.

Klyushin had access to assets, including a yacht worth $4 million. The judge also stated that Klyushin was a flight risk due to the absence of extradition treaties with Russia and weak ties with the U.S. Even though a letter from Washington’s Russian Embassy promised it would not “assist in concealing” Klyushin. Bowler stated that she had not seen a document like this in her more than 30 years of being a judge.

After being arrested on a family ski trip, Klyushin was extradited from Switzerland to the U.S. on December 18. Klyushin is suspected to have knowledge about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, the hacking of Democratic Party email servers, and the assassination attempt against former spy Sergei Skripal.

Federal prosecutors have also charged Ivan Ermakov in connection to the 2016 election interference case.

Klyushin is believed to be the most senior Kremlin insider that U.S. authorities have ever captured. He was recently awarded a medal of honor by Vladimir Putin, the Russian President. He was approached by U.S.- and U.K. intelligence agents prior to his arrest.

Prosecutors stated that they expect 20-25 witnesses to testify during the trial. Maximum sentences for the charges are between five and 20 years. However, the judge who is overseeing the case will ultimately decide the sentence.

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