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DOJ: Hacking suspect's lawyers may face conflict

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 13, 2014 at 7:50 pm •  Published: August 13, 2014
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SEATTLE (AP) — Two attorneys representing the son of a prominent Russian lawmaker may face a conflict of interest because their firm represented victims of a hacking scheme he's accused of running, the U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors asked a U.S. Disctrict Court judge in Seattle to inquire into whether Robert W. Ray and Ely Goldin have a conflict in representing Roman Seleznev, who was arrested at an airport in the Maldives last month and subsequently transported to Seattle.

Seleznev, the son of Russian lawmaker Valery Seleznev, pleaded not guilty last week to charges that he hacked into computers that run point-of-sale terminals, stealing hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers and selling them online. The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused the U.S. government of kidnapping him.

Ray and Goldin are attorneys with Fox Rothschild, a national firm with 600 attorneys and 19 offices, according to its website. Ray succeeded Kenneth Starr in 1999 as the independent counsel on the Whitewater investigation. Seleznev is also represented by Seattle defense attorney Larry Finegold.

"We feel strongly that our representation comports with all applicable rules of ethics and that Mr. Seleznev is legally entitled to vigorous defense — which we intend to provide," Goldin wrote in an email Wednesday.

Assistant U.S. attorney Norman Barbosa said the government was not implying any wrongdoing by the defense attorneys, only raising the question of whether they should continue to represent the defendant when at least one other attorney in their firm represented the pizza chain Z Pizza in connection with a breach in late 2010 and early 2011 that resulted in the theft of thousands of its customers' credit card numbers. Seleznev was responsible for the hack, prosecutors say.

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