Russian programmer charged with hacking in US says he’s not guilty

Russian programmer charged with hacking in US says he’s not guilty
Pyotr Levashov Photo: Radio Svoboda

The Connecticut State Office of the Attorney asks the court to leave the Russian in custody until the trial, because he may escape.

Russian programmer Pyotr Levashov, extradited to the US and accused of cyber fraud, has told the court he was innocent. This is reported by RIA Novosti citing Levashov’s lawyer Igor Litvak.

“This evening we had the first hearing in the Connecticut court. Petya [Pyotr] Levashov said that he was innocent on eight counts, for which he is charged in the indictment,” the lawyer said.

According to the lawyer, the defense has not received any documents or evidence from the prosecutor's office. Litvak noted that Levashov will be held in the Bridgeport prison, Connecticut, at least until Monday.

Earlier, the Connecticut Office of the Attorney had sent a petition to the district court requesting that the Russian citizen Pyotr Levashov charged with organizing hacker attacks be left in custody before the trial on his case.

According to TASS, the document says that there is a serious risk that the accused will escape if he is released from custody. At the same time, the state attorney office notes that 36-year-old Levashov had never been to the United States before, had no property there, and had nothing to do with this country.

To recall, the St. Petersburg resident is accused of the creation and management of Kelihos — a global network of infected computers. According to the investigation, Pyotr Levashov (aka Peter Severa and Sergey Astakhov) organized and conducted numerous cyber attacks while managing a global network of tens of thousands of infected computers. The US law enforcers believe that the Russian hacker used a network to collect data, send spam, and install malware through phishing. Experts on cyberthreats estimated the coverage of Kelihos at 40,000 computers. According to the US Justice Department, Levashov had run it since 2010. After his arrest in Spain, it reported on the termination of Kelihos' activities.

Pyotr Levashov was arrested in Spain in April 2017 at the request of the United States. In October 2017, Levashov was arrested in absentia in Russia on suspicion of hacking and blocking access to information on the site of a St. Petersburg medical institution. The Swiss-British nonprofit organization Spamhaus has included a hacker with the nickname Peter Severa in the TOP-10 most dangerous spammers in the world.

Tags: Extradition
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