Moscow accuses US of kidnapping MP's son on hacking charges

Moscow accuses US of kidnapping MP's son on hacking charges

Summary: After the US arrested a man believed to be a prolific trafficker of stolen credit card data, the father, a Russian lawmaker, says he will be accused of everything up to "killing Kennedy."


After arresting a Russian national on charges of hacking and fraud, Moscow has accused Washington of abducting the son of a Russian MP.

According to the AFP news agency, Russian lawmaker Valery Seleznev admitted to being the father of the alleged hacker and stolen data trafficker, and expressed fears that son Roman Seleznev would be accused of all matter of criminal activity, including "killing Kennedy."

The publication says that Valery Seleznev has accused Washington of committing a crime against his son, and that there was no solid evidence he is a hacker. In contrast, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has branded him "one of the world's most prolific traffickers of stolen financial information."

Roman Seleznev was arrested by US agents in the Maldives and currently being held in Guam. The Russian national is accused of accessing US point-of-sale systems and stealing credit card information to later sell online in a scheme between October 2009 and February 2011.

Valery Seleznev, representative of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), told the Dozhd TV channel that "this is the abduction of a Russian national," and "it has nothing to do with arrest." The lawmaker also claimed that his son could not be guilty as he was injured in 2011 and is now disabled.

According to the US DoJ, Roman Seleznev, also known as "Track2," not only accessed retail systems and lifted credit card data, but also operated servers and forums to sell the stolen credentials worldwide. The accused hacker is being charged with counts of bank fraud, intentionally causing damage to protected computers, obtaining information unlawfully, possession of unauthorized access devices, trafficking unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft.

In total, this could land the son of the Russian lawmaker 30 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

Valery Seleznev told state news agency ITAR-TASS:

"I am now in negotiations with the Russian Foreign Ministry. Kidnapping is a crime. The country must protect its citizens, and Roman should go back to Russia.

My son is a person with disabilities. He needs medical treatment and medicines. I fear that he would be pressured to confess even in the murder of Kennedy or being Monica Lewinsky. We all know what American justice is."

The lawmaker also accused the US of taking "the liberty to kidnap a person in the Maldives and without any body of evidence to bring him to the USA and arrest."

The Russian lawmaker has insisted that if his son should be tried, it should take place in a Russian court and not the United States.

Topics: Security, Government US

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  • Kidnapped or Formally Extradited?

    ZDnet gave Russia's side of the story. How about the other side? Kidnapped? Or formally extradited from the Maldives to Guam??
    • Exactly

      if they sent in a squad to abduct him, then the story is fair enough.

      If they went through the courts in the Maldives and received an extradition order, that is a different matter altogether.
      • It's already confirmed it was kidnapping

        They physically forced him on a plane to Guam where they could "legally" make an arrest.
        A legal extradition does not involve physically abducting someone with no due process to force them to another place you them "have authority" to do something.
        That would be like physically forcing someone onto your property them injuring them claiming you were defending your property.
        A legal extradition of a citizen of another country would also involve some sort of paperwork or request to their actual government as well... He wasn't extradited via the Maldives gvt.
        He was physically grabbed and forced somewhere they would have authority to do something, hence not being arrested until he "arrived" in Guam.
        • Unofficially

          Maldives would have to know what's going on, unless they just let the US smuggle whoever they want in and out of their country with no Visas, etc.
    • That's not how extradition works

      US Agents abducted him and forced him on a plane to Guam. US can't arrest or extradite anyone off our soil. It would have been up to the Maldives gvt. to arrest him and there is a formal process.
      This was booted thugs forcing someone onto a plane where they could pretend a lawful arrest there.
  • in reverse

    While visiting family in Stavropol, RU in May 2009, i was abducted, held for 4 months, my credit cards stolen, my passport and all identity papers taken from me. I was held for a millions Euro ransom. Did RUSSIA care about how i was being held? NO! did the US? NO!, the only way i was able to get away was to convince their leader i really did not CARE if they killed me, i too am disabled ( Muscular Dystrophy). I convinced them my family would never pay the ransom they asked for, and after enough time having to guard me in a locked flat 24 hours a day 7 days, they just gave up and let me lose. I still had no papers I had no money, and i was lucky to find an oxymoron, in the form of an HONEST Russian army officer, who aided me in getting train ticket, and temporary papers to travel in Russia, so i could go back to my home in Kyiv. I reported this all to the US Consulate in Kyiv and was told "so what? what do you wish us to do about it?" So i have little love for either the USA, ( my birth country) nor for Russia, ( my wife's birth country). AT LEAST Ukraine , my adopted homeland, ( i am a naturalized citizen there) cared enough to provide m replacement documents, blocked my debit and other banking cards etc, a thing even the US organizations refused to do. So far as any DECENT American citizen is concerned under King Obama, we're all expendable and they will commit ANY crime needed to do what they wish, JUST LIKE the Russians do.
    LyonsAire CEO
    • Boo Hoo

      So since you got nothing in aid, unlike countless other American or Russians who have, everybody's the bad guy, but you?

      For all we know, we're all expendable to you....
  • US "kidnaps" hacker

    "After arresting a Russian national on charges of hacking and fraud, Moscow has accused Washington of abducting the son of a Russian MP."

    Not so. Merely an example of hasty writing. Moscow didn't arrest the Russian national, the US did.

    Possible correction: After Washington arrested..., Moscow accused...

    Not even "has accused." Of course, Moscow continues to accuse, but in the given case the more sensible use is "accused," the action that followed the arrest.

    This example of poor style probably makes no difference in such a piece, but it can and does cause confusion in poorly edited technical writing.
    • Correction

      The summary already states that the US did the kidnapping. Saying it again is not necessary. The piece is written from the Russian lawmakers point of of view and what he said not what the reporter should have said to be correct.
  • The Liberal Democratic Party is Vladimir Zhirnovsky's party

    And is neither liberal nor democratic as those terms are normally defined; but is sometimes alleged to be a front for the FSB and a "safe" opposition party for Vladimir Putin's United Russia as most Russian voters would be very reluctant to vote the LDP into power. Given all of that, the hyperbole on the part of the accused man's father is no surprise (but unless the son is in his 70s or has access to a time machine, I think we can safely say .that there is zero chance he will be convicted of "killing Kennedy").

    Of course, none of the above has any bearing on the defendant's guilt or innocence; that will need to be determined by a court.
    John L. Ries
  • One question I have is... the US Government now arresting people in foreign countries directly? Does the US have a treaty with Maldives authorizing direct arrests by US authorities? Or are the US authorities acting on their own?

    The normal procedure when a person is wanted on criminal charges in a country he's not in is extradition. I can see making exceptions when a government isn't in control of its own territory, or is one with which we don't have diplomatic relations, but not otherwise. It's not like we in the US would look kindly on the FSB arresting someone on US soil so he could face charges in Russia.
    John L. Ries
    • false accusations unlikely

      Someone arrested in Russia would be falsely accused of "advocating a gay lifestyle", the new crime created for selective persecution.
      Someone arrested in some islamic country would be falsely accused of "blasphemy" and "prostitution", imaginary offenses applied to anyone they don't like.
      USA doesn't do that kind of phony shit, especially with foreign nationals.
      • Not really the question

        I'm satisfied that the Secret Service thinks it has enough evidence to prosecute him on real charges; but the story about his being arrested by US agents in Maldives is somewhat disturbing nonetheless as this is not at all standard procedure and sets a very bad precedent if it was done without the consent of the local government; as we would have just given permission for every government on the planet to arrest our citizens without the bother of requesting their extradition. No, I really don't want the Chinese to snatch dissidents off of US streets and spirit them home for trial.
        John L. Ries
        • Exactly

          is this lazy reporting, that the US authorities had the guy arrested and extradited from the Maldives by the maldevian police, or did they fly a covert team in to snatch him?

          If the former is the case, then it is just lazy and sensationalistic reporting on ZDNet's behalf.

          If it is the latter, then there is a serious problem within the US legal system.
          • They sent a covert team to snatch him

            So far all reports are consistent with the fact that US agents detained him on suspicion, physically forced him on a plane to Guam then made the arrest there...
          • Then claimed global jurisdiction, essentially...

            The statement by Johnson seems to send the message that the US will secretly determine what justice is and has global juridisction to disrupt and dismantle crime as they see fit.


            "This important arrest sends a clear message: despite the increasingly borderless nature of transitional organized crime, the long arm of justice – and this Department – will continue to disrupt and dismantle sophisticated criminal organizations," said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson in a statement [PDF].
          • Nevertheless...

            ...this is a *very* bad precedent that need to be reversed ASAP, lest other, much less savory governments start following our example.
            John L. Ries
    • overplayed

      USA would never arrest anyone inside Russia without their cooperation, pinko troll. It is not clear where we arrested him: "Department of Justice representatives won’t say how the suspect was ultimately captured or how he ultimately arrived in Guam." So that Maldives detail could be made up. If it was Maldives, maybe Maldives has an extradition agreement and allowed the arrest, or invited it, or delivered him. Maldives is islamic, so it might be a great hide-out for Russian scum (though they risk that Maldives might invite USA in to arrest him, in exchange for a payoff).
      "Russia’s security and law enforcement infrastructure has reportedly been slow to pursue alleged hackers, even going so far as to provide travel advisory warning possible online criminals not to travel to “countries that have signed agreements with the U.S. on mutual extradition.”" Wow. Gotta love and trust that "Mother" Russia! (Russia is the home of Internet providers who openly offer "fraud hosting".)
      Roman Valerevich Seleznev was indicted in 2011. He cost companies $millions. It would not be unfair if he were shot in the face and left to die.
      The Russian scum's scum father protests too much, writing fairy tales. "Monica Lewinsky." Asshole.
      • The Maldives story could be made up

        Though I seem to recall that we recently spirited a suspect in the Benghazi attack out of Libya over the protests of the Libyan government (I'm not convinced that was a good move). It wouldn't at all surprise me if the father (a partisan of ultranationalist demagogue Vladimir Zhirnovskty) made the story up, but we'll have to wait for the official details to find out the Secret Service's side of the story. But if the story is true, it sets an extremely bad precedent we're going to regret in very short order.

        And while Adornoe would certainly agree with the "pinko" characterization, I don't think many other talkbackers would.
        John L. Ries
      • I do have to ask

        Why would an officially Islamic state like Maldives give sanctuary to an "infidel" Russian who most likely is at least nominally Eastern Orthodox? There are plenty of Muslims in Russia, but I don't think many support Zhirnovsky and I'm quite sure his party has never nominated any for elective office.
        John L. Ries