Yevgeniy Nikulin faces extradition requests from both countries amid lingering disquiet over Moscow’s alleged interference in the US presidential election
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.
There is no acknowledged link between Nikulin’s alleged offences and the hacking of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, but his arrest came just three days before the Obama administration formally accused Russia of stealing emails from the Democratic National Committee and disclosing them through WikiLeaks.