An alleged computer hacker being held in the Czech Republic is at the centre of an international legal tussle between the United States and Russia amid lingering disquiet over Moscow's alleged interference in the recent US presidential election. Yevgeniy Nikulin, 29, faces extradition requests from both countries after being detained by Czech police on an Interpol arrest warrant issued by US authorities. Nikulin, a Russian citizen, was arrested in a restaurant in Prague on 5 October shortly after arriving in the city during a holiday with his girlfriend. A federal court in Oakland, California, followed up with an indictment charging him with offences relating to the hacking of computer networks belonging to LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring and formally requesting his extradition to the US. He faces a maximum 30 years in prison and up to US$1m in fines if convicted on charges including computer intrusion, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy, damaging computers and trafficking in illegal access devices.
Czech counter-intelligence has issued stark warnings of intensified espionage activity by Russia and China. Both countries are pursuing a long-term strategy of undermining the West, according to the Security Information Service (BIS). While Chinese spies and diplomats pose "an extremely high risk" to Czech citizens, Moscow has continued its hybrid warfare strategy to gain influence over this EU and Nato member, it says. Prague's leafy Bubenec district is home to grand villas, diplomatic missions, the Russian embassy, and an excellent Russian-run cafe. "Thank you," I said to the waitress, as she laid down a pot of green tea and a slice of lemon tart.
A Russian suspected hacker has moved a step closer to being sent to the US as a Czech judge gave tentative approval for an extradition to go ahead, during a court hearing held inside a high-security prison in Prague. Yevgeniy Nikulin, who was arrested at a restaurant in the Czech capital last October and is accused by the FBI of massive hacks of US companies, appeared at the hearing pale and emaciated after eight months in solitary confinement. The murky case has so far thrown up far more questions than answers, but one thing is clear: US authorities are determined to extradite the 29-year-old Muscovite, who drove a Lamborghini and socialised with the children of top Russian officials, and Moscow is determined to get him back, filing its own extradition request. The FBI accused Nikulin of responsibility for huge password hacks on LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring, in 2012. Nikulin's arrest last October came three days before the Obama administration officially accused Russia of hacking the Democratic National Committee and interfering in the election.
PRAGUE/NEW YORK – A Russian on Friday pleaded not guilty to charges he hacked three U.S. technology companies, potentially compromising personal details of more than 100 million users, after being extradited from the Czech Republic. Yevgeniy Nikulin, 30, of Moscow, entered his plea in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, after having fought his extradition following his 2016 arrest in Prague. His case had turned into a battle over whether he should be sent to the U.S. or Russia, where a Moscow court in November 2016 issued an arrest warrant for his alleged theft seven years earlier of $3,450 via a site called Webmoney. The U.S. Department of Justice accused Nikulin of illegally accessing computers belonging to the U.S.-based social media firms LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring in 2012, including by using the credentials of LinkedIn and Formspring employees. LinkedIn, now owned by Microsoft Corp. has said the case was related to a breach that might have compromised information of at least 100 million users.
The Czech Republic has extradited Russian national Yevgeniy Nikulin to the United States, where he's accused of several hacking attempts dating back to 2012. A US federal grand jury had indicted him in 2016 for breaking into DropBox, Formspring and LinkedIn. The latter breach potentially exposed the information of 100 million of users. US prosecutors had been vying with Russia to extradite Nikulin ever since the FBI cooperated with Czech authorities to arrest him in 2016. After he was taken into custody, a court in Moscow issued its own arrest warrant for allegedly electronically stealing several thousand dollars within Webmoney back in 2009.