What Shaltay-Boltay did not blab out

What Shaltay-Boltay did not blab out
Vladimir Anikeev Photo: RIA Novosti / Vitaly Belousov

The verdict to Vladimir Anikeev can be a 'cover-up operation' for a much more dangerous crime group.

The Moscow City Court sentenced the leader of the hacker group Shaltay-Boltay Vladimir Anikeev, known in cyberspace under the nickname Lewis, to two years of imprisonment. Already in July, Anikeev can be released on parole, as the crime provided in the Art. 272 of the Criminal Code is of medium gravity, which means parole is allowed after the first third of the term. Anikeev was taken into custody on November 9 last year, eight months expire on Sunday, July 9, 2017.

It is to be recalled that Vladimir Anikeev was detained by FSB officers in St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport at the end of the last year. As soon as the court issued a warrant for arrest, Anikeev pleaded guilty, repented and started cooperating with the investigation. Therefore, the Moscow City Court criminal considered the case against Anikeev in a 'special order': without examining evidence, questioning witnesses and victims. But at that, the criminal case was classified and the trial was held behind closed doors. The reason why the investigation classified the case was allegedly due to the fact that the case materials contained a state secret. And this is strange.

The fact is that Anikeev was charged with the hacking of e-mail boxes of presidential aide Andrey Belousov, CEO of MIA Russia Today Dmitry Kiselev, employee of Sberbank Yevgeny Kislyakov and employee of the Summa group of companies Elena Morozova.

For example, the mailbox of the former head of the Directorate for Project Management in Housing and Communal Services of PJSC Sberbank of Russia, Yevgeny Kislyakov, was hacked. Shaltay-Boltay put up for sale the content of the mailbox from August 2013 to February 2016 on the so-called ‘information exchange’ for 70 thousand dollars. For Ylena Morozova’s correspondence from 2008 to 2016 (11 thousand letters of 13 GB), allegedly containing a large amount of confidential commercial information relating to the activities and assets of the group Summa, hackers demanded 96 thousand dollars. Soon it was bought by an unknown customer.

But, despite the fact that in virtually all of these episodes there were signs of a crime, which is called extortion in the Criminal Code, Anikeev was charged with a much more humane article, namely, Illegal access to computer information by a group of persons on preliminary conspiracy.

Several years ago, Novaya Gazeta came into contact with a member of Shaltay-Boltay when we were offered to acquire a huge amount of information allegedly obtained by hacking mailboxes of employees of the Presidential Administration of Russia, some ministries and large commercial structures. Even then we noticed that the correspondence and documents proposed to us could not be stolen by hacking mailboxes. Such amounts of information could be stolen exclusively from computer servers.

And we assumed that Shaltay-Boltay is used by the people who have access to computer servers of ministries, departments, Presidential Administration, for the legalization of thefts and leaks of confidential information. When it transpired that the case of Shaltay-Boltay was classified, this version began to seem even more convincing.

We also drew attention to the fact that information about the criminal case against the hacker group appeared in the media after it became known about the arrest of the FSB officers – Colonel Sergey Mikhailov and Major Dmitry Dokuchaev, suspected of high treason. Today we can assume that the information about the arrest of Anikeev and his accomplices was leaked with the aim of diverting public attention from the criminal case against the FSB officers.

The version about the connection of the criminal case against Shaltay-Boltay with the criminal case of high treason today does not seem very convincing. And that's why.

The FSB officers were detained on December 4, 2016, that is, almost a month after Anikeev's arrest. Mikhailov and Dokuchaev are not amateurs, they are experienced officers, who could not help but guess that Vladimir Anikeev, who started cooperating with the investigation, will certainly testify against them. But, apparently, Mikhailov and Dokuchaev did not fear the hacker’s confessions and did not leave Russia, did not hide, because they were sure that if they had contacted Anikeev, these contacts were not criminal.

Nevertheless, the criminal case against the hacker group was classified. Perhaps in the criminal case there is indeed secret information about other FSB officers who supplied the hackers with information stolen from the servers of the victims in the criminal case against Anikeev.

Our sources in the FSB and the investigative bodies did not confirm, but did not refute this version either. But it explains a lot. Including Anikeev’s extremely soft verdict which allows him to expect release in the coming days.



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