Russian hacking suspect ordered held until trial

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 15, 2014 at 8:22 pm •  Published: August 15, 2014
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SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge on Friday ordered the son of a prominent Russian lawmaker to remain in custody until his trial on computer hacking charges, after a prosecutor said evidence recovered from his laptop after his arrest in the Maldives gave new insight into the breadth of his activities.

Roman Seleznev, 30, the son of Valery Seleznev, appeared in U.S. District Court in Seattle, where he was indicted in 2011 on charges that involved hacking into computerized cash registers, stealing hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers and selling the data online for at least $2 million.

Seleznev faces similar but unrelated charges in Nevada.

In arguing for Seleznev to remain in custody, assistant U.S. attorney Norman Barbosa told the court that at first look, his laptop contained 2.1 million stolen credit card numbers, his criminal behavior was ongoing, and his profits had topped $17 million.

"Those funds have remained beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement, so they are probably — almost definitely — available to the defendant" should he try to flee, Barbosa told Magistrate Judge James P. Donohue.

Even as Seleznev vacationed in the Maldives, he had been searching the online system of the U.S. federal courts for charges filed against him — under his own name and his online nicknames, Barbosa said.

The grand jury in Washington state indicted Seleznev on charges of bank fraud, obtaining information from a protected computer, aggravated identity theft, trafficking in unauthorized access devices and possessing stolen credit card numbers.

Among the businesses he is accused of targeting are the Broadway Grill in Seattle, which eventually closed because of the damage the theft did to its reputation, several pizza chains, and the Phoenix Zoo.

A month after the then-sealed indictment was returned, Seleznev suffered a brain injury in a terrorist bombing of a cafe in Morocco. He remained in a coma for two weeks and underwent a series of operations, said Robert W. Ray, one of his lawyers.

U.S. Secret Service agents, working with local officials, arrested Seleznev at an airport in the Maldives last month as he was preparing to return to Russia from vacation with his girlfriend. He was flown to the U.S. territory of Guam, where another federal judge sent him to Seattle.

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