Welsh hackers could face extradition

The teenagers who stole Bill Gates' credit card details may be going on a long journey

It is uncertain whether the Welsh teenagers arrested this weekend for hacking into e-commerce Web sites and stealing Bill Gates' credit card data will be tried in their home country, or face extradition to the US.

Dyfed-Powys Police, the force involved in the joint operation with the FBI to arrest the two men, dismissed media reports that they would be extradited as speculation and says that it is too early to determine their fate.

"It is my understanding that the offences are based here in Wales," a spokesman for Dyfed-Powys Police said. "Unless they are extradited to the US they will initially appear at Tenby Magistrates Court."

The teenagers have been released on police bail.

The Welshmen, arrested by the force Saturday, hacked into nine e-commerce sites in the US, Canada, Thailand and Britain. Using the screen name "Curador" (Welsh for custodian) they stole the credit card details of over 26,000 accounts, including that of Microsoft's Bill Gates, and mailed them to a US broadcasting group.

The Dyfed-Powys Police, according to a spokesman, are unable to provide details of which sites came under attack and said "it's too early to assess loss estimates." According to the FBI the losses could exceed $3m (£1.82m).

The Dyfed-Powys Police, currently under siege from the world's media, are finding the outing of two internationally infamous hackers a rare experience. The sleepy town of Dyfed-Powys is "not to my knowledge" a hotbed of computer-cracking activity, according to a police spokesman.

"I don't recollect another case like this," he said. "There was one in Cardiff, but that's not our patch."

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