Russian treason arrests stemmed from intel official helping US catch criminal hackers

Russian treason arrests stemmed from intel official helping US catch criminal hackers

Three current and former Russian intelligence agents and a Russian cybersecurity firm employee arrested on charges of treason had been feeding the U.S. information on criminal hackers, a Russian news station reported Wednesday. 

Sergei Mikhailov and Dmitry Dokuchaev, who at the time were employed by Russia's intelligence service, the FSB, were arrested along with former FSB agent George Fomchenkov and Kaspersky Lab employee Ruslan Stoyanov in connection with data they passed along to the CIA, according to Rain TV.

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The arrests, which were made public in late January, caused speculation that the four had been informants for the investigation into Russian hacking in the 2016 U.S. elections. 

According to the Rain report, they had actually been tipping off the CIA about Russian criminal hackers, including accused credit card thief Roman Seleznev and alleged LinkedIn hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin. 

Seleznev, the son of a Russian legislator, was arrested on vacation in the Maldives in 2014. According to the Rain report, aiding in his capture forced the hand of Russian authorities to arrest Mikhailov, Dokuchaev, Fomchenkov and Stoyanov. 

At the time of the announcement of Stoyanov's arrest, Kaspersky Lab said in a statement: "The case against this employee does not involve Kaspersky Lab," noting that the arrest concerned a time period "predating his employment at Kaspersky Lab."