Ukrainian authorities ask FBI for help investigating Russian hack on Burisma

Ukrainian authorities ask FBI for help investigating Russian hack on Burisma
© Getty

Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs on Thursday announced that the country’s cyber police had started "criminal proceedings" around the recent hacking of gas company Burisma, and noted that authorities were seeking the assistance of the FBI in pursuing the case. 

The ministry wrote in a statement that criminal proceedings had been launched, and that “persons involved in committing this criminal offense are being identified.”

The company has been propelled into the spotlight in recent months due to the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Overnight Health Care: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | Democrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next relief deal | Fauci says death toll could be around 60,000 Hillicon Valley: State officials push for more election funds | Coronavirus surveillance concerns ramp up pressure for privacy bill | Senators warned not to use Zoom | Agencies ask FCC to revoke China Telecom's license MORE, which began after an anonymous whistleblower report alleged that Trump had tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSteyer endorses Biden for president Sanders 2020 press secretary: Democratic leadership interested in 'corporate status quo' or 'they're planning to replace Joe' Biden joins calls to release racial breakdowns of coronavirus cases, deaths MORE and his son Hunter Biden, who served on the company's board between 2014 and 2019. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The proceedings were launched following a story from The New York Times earlier this week, which reported findings by cyber group Area 1 Security that Russian military hackers had launched email phishing attacks designed to steal credentials of Burisma employees and gain access to the company’s systems. 

The attack reportedly came amid impeachment hearings in November.

According to the Times, the Russian hackers successfully got into at least one server, although it is unclear what they were able to access or whether anything was stolen.

The ministry noted that it had approached both the FBI and Area 1 Security for assistance in the probe into the hacking of Burisma. 

“In order to properly investigate the circumstances of the offense, the National Police is initiating the creation of a joint international investigation team, to which FBI representatives will be invited,” the ministry wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

The announcement of the criminal proceedings in relation to the Burisma hack came the same day the ministry also launched a criminal investigation into whether former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchAmerica's diplomats deserve our respect House panel says key witness isn't cooperating in probe into Yovanovitch surveillance President Trump's assault on checks and balances: Five acts in four weeks MORE had been tracked by associates of Lev Parnas, an associate of former New York City Mayor Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump: Tough times but progress being made Giuliani touts experimental coronavirus treatment in private conversations with Trump Trump team picks fight with Twitter, TV networks over political speech MORE, while serving as ambassador. 

According to communications between Parnas and Republican congressional candidate Robert Hyde that were made public earlier this week, Yovanovitch may have been followed while in Ukraine. Hyde has since denied that any spying took place.

A spokesperson for the FBI declined to comment on whether it would assist Ukrainian authorities in their investigation.