Russia Police Catch, Then Release Hacker Wanted by U.S.
(Bloomberg) -- A Belarusian hacker wanted in the U.S. for his role in a hacking ring that stole credit card numbers said he was detained and released on an Interpol warrant in St. Petersburg, Russia.
“As you see, I’m in a royal suite at a hotel and not in a cell, even though I was in a cell yesterday,” Sergey Pavlovich said in a live-streamed video on his YouTube channel Tuesday. “Even though I served 10 years in Belarus, America wants me as their prisoner, which isn’t fair.”
A St. Petersburg police spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment. The Interfax news service quoted a source it didn’t name as confirming the detention but provided no more details.
Russia’s apparent catch and release of a hacker wanted by the U.S. comes as cybersecurity talks initiated after the June summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin have failed to achieve visible results.
Biden said he gave Putin list of 16 critical sectors that shouldn’t be hacked to deter a cyber response from the U.S. government, but attacks have continued. In October, Microsoft Corp. said the Russian hackers behind the SolarWinds Corp. attack were engaged in a new campaign to compromise global networks.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied responsibility for any hacking attacks.
Pavlovich, the author of How to Steal a Million: The Memoirs of a Russian Hacker, was one of eleven accused in 2008 by the Department of Justice of what it called at the time the “largest hacking and identity theft case” it ever prosecuted. The perpetrators allegedly stole over 40 million credit and debit cards from U.S. retailers.
Pavlovich says he no longer is involved in cybercrime and runs a YouTube channel with over half a million subscribers.
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