(Reuters) – Five Russians, including a Kremlin-affiliated businessman currently in US custody, carried out a huge $ 82 million insider trading program that enabled them to profit from business information stolen by hacking, US authorities said in a statement. Monday.
Vladislav. Klyushin, the owner of a Moscow-based IT company that, according to prosecutors, had extensive ties to the Russian government, was extradited on Saturday from Switzerland to face conspiracy, securities fraud and other allegations in Boston.
Mr. Klyushin, who was arrested in Switzerland in March while on a ski trip, appeared briefly from a Massachusetts prison during a virtual court hearing. A hearing on bail is tentatively set for Thursday.
Prosecutors accused him and others of trading in company performance reports obtained by hacking into the computer systems of two providers who help companies submit quarterly and annual reports to US Securities and. Exchange Commission. [1
Authorities said the computer systems were hacked by Ivan Yermakov, an M-13 employee who was among several Russian military intelligence officials accused in 2018 of carrying out hacking programs to disrupt the 2016 presidential election and target anti-doping agencies.
The program provided a total of at least $ 82.5 million from 2018 to 2020, the SEC said in a related lawsuit.
Mr. Yermakov is still at large, along with three other defendants: M-13 director Nikolai Rumiantcev and two Russian businessmen who, according to prosecutors, traded in the hacked information, Mikhail Irzak and Igor Sladkov.
They could not be reached for comment.  Mr. Klyushin's lawyers have called the case politically motivated and claimed that the real reason he was wanted was his work and contacts within the Russian government, which calls the case part of Washington's hunt for Russians.
But while acting US lawyer Nathaniel Mendell stressed . Klyushin's "extensive ties" to the Kremlin, he said the authorities did not know at the beginning of the two-year investigation "where facts and investigation would lead us."