US close to extraditing two Russian cybercriminals: reports

US close to extraditing two Russian cybercriminals: reports
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The United States appears to close to extraditing two alleged Russian cybercriminals, two European countries that hold the men separately granted U.S. extradition requests this week, according to Reuters.

Spain’s High Court on Tuesday agreed to extradite Peter Levashov, who is wanted for allegedly creating a global network of hijacked computers for the "Kelihos" botnets that infected around 100,000 devices with viruses while also  stealing users' private information, Reuters reported Tuesday.

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Levashov, who denies the accusations and is fighting against the extradition to the States, told a Madrid court last week that he worries he would be tortured and possibly killed if extradited to the U.S., citing a report by the RIA news agency. Russia has also requested his extradition.

Levashov, who is also known as Peter Severa, said he has worked for Russian president Vladimir Putin's United Russia party for a decade, when he “collected different information about opposition parties and delivered it to the necessary people at the necessary time,” according to the reports.

U.S. prosecutors are reportedly seeking a prison sentence of more than 50 year for Levashov.

A Greek court similarly appears to be leaning towards extraditing another Russian cybercriminal, Alexander Vinnik, who is accused of running a $4 billion bitcoin laundering scheme in addition to other cyber crimes, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The U.S. and Russia have both put in extradition requests for Vinnik, who has reportedly asked to be returned to the Kremlin over the U.S.

Vinnik on Wednesday appealed the decision to extradite him to the U.S., where he could be facing up to 55 years in prison if convicted by the U.S.

Vinnik denies the charges against him, telling the court he served as a consultant rather than an operator for BTC-e, a bitcoin exchange, Reuters reports.

The court has not yet set a date for Vinnik's hearing about his request to be extradited to Russia on lesser fraud charges, according to the report.

The Justice Department and several congressional panels are currently looking into Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Russia has repeatedly denied allegations that it meddled in the race.