Justice Department indicts Russian hacker for allegedly participating in trading scheme

A Russian national was indicted and extradited to the United States this week for allegedly hacking into the networks of U.S. groups involved in stock market trading to profit from insider information, the Justice Department announced Monday. 

Vladislav Klyushin was extradited from Switzerland to the U.S. on Saturday after his arrest by Swiss authorities in March, and is set to appear in federal court in Boston on Monday, where he is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Massachusetts. 

Klyushin is alleged, alongside several Russian co-conspirators, to have hacked into the networks of two unnamed U.S.-based filing agents between January 2018 and September 2020 to obtain information on whether stocks would rise or fall, then making trading decisions that brought in tens of millions of dollars.

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The hackers allegedly leased servers based outside of Russia, including in Boston, to view the information. Klyushin is charged with unauthorized access to computers and committing wire fraud and securities fraud, among other charges, and faces a maximum of up to 50 years in prison and $1 million in fines if convicted on all counts. 

“The integrity of our nation’s capital markets and of its computer networks are priorities for my office,” acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Mendell said in a statement Monday. “Today’s charges show that we, the FBI, and our other law enforcement partners will relentlessly pursue those who hack, steal and attempt to profit from inside information, wherever they may hide.” 

Four other Russian nationals — ​​Ivan Ermakov, Nikolai Rumiantcev, Mikhail Vladimirovich Irzak and Igor Sergeevich Sladkov — were also charged in the indictment as co-conspirators, but all four remain at large. 

Ermakov is a former agent of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, and has previously been charged in federal court with hacking-related interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, and with targeting international anti-doping agencies and sports federations with hacking and disinformation efforts. 

"In simple terms, they hacked U.S. networks, stole inside information, and cheated honest investors of millions of dollars," Mendell told reporters at a press conference Monday. 

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The FBI was also involved in investigating the case. 

“Today’s announcement and the extradition of Vladislav Klyushin is just one more example of how the FBI and our partners are working around the clock and around the world to counter the cyber threat that we face today,” Albert Murray III, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal and Cyber Division, said in a separate statement Monday. 

“As alleged, Klyushin and his co-defendants used various illegal and malicious means to gain access to computer networks to perpetrate their illegal trading scheme. These crimes have real consequences,” Murray said. “And, as our efforts in this case demonstrate, the FBI is relentless in our work to identify and locate criminals like Klyushin — no matter where they are — and bring them to the U.S. to face justice.”