Russian Hacker Accused of Fraud in U.S. Get His Trial Postponed

The trial of the Russian programmer Pyotr Levashov, accused of computer fraud by American authorities, has been postponed until December, his attorney Igor Litvak said.

“The judge postponed the start of the trial due to the complexity of the case, neither the defense nor the prosecutor’s office is ready to begin in April,” Litvak told Izvestia. According to him, the trial will be held in the state of Connecticut, where Levashov is being held. He was arrested a year ago in Barcelona at the request of the United States, where he is suspected of hacking. On October 3, 2017 a Spanish court agreed to extradite Levashov to the United States. The verdict was appealed by Levashov’s lawyers but the court’s decision was confirmed.

In early February, Spain extradited Levashov to the United States. Levashov pleaded not guilty to cyber-crime charges at the first hearing in a Bridgeport court in the U.S. state of Connecticut.

Levashov faces up to 50 years in prison due to the gravity of the charges, all federal counts, leveled against him. Sources in Russian diplomatic circles said that despite the current climate involving both countries’ diplomats, Moscow is going to continue defending the interests of its citizens who are imprisoned in the United States.

The U.S. government is accusing the programmer of operating a network of tens of thousands of infected computers used by cyber-criminals. Last September, he told investigators he previously worked for President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party and feared he would be tortured and killed if extradited.

His comments offered a rare glimpse into the relationship between cyber criminals and the Russian state. U.S. officials say Russian authorities routinely shield hackers from prosecution abroad before recruiting them for espionage work.

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