Police charge 10 people with Zeus fraud

Ten people have been charged with transferring money out of HSBC, RBS, Barclays and Lloyds TSB accounts and are suspected of compromising user details with the Zeus Trojan
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

Police have charged 10 people with stealing millions of pounds from online bank accounts using the Zeus Trojan.

One other person was arrested and charged in connection with the Police Central eCrime Unit (PCeU) operation, for possession of false identity papers, police said in a statement on Wednesday.

The 11 eastern Europeans appeared at Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court on Thursday for a procedural hearing, ZDNet UK was told at Westminster Magistrates' Court. The defendants were all remanded in custody by the magistrate on Thursday. They were arrested on Tuesday in various locations in Essex and kept in custody at central London police stations.

The people arrested over the Zeus Trojan come from the Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Belarus and are aged between 23 and 33 years old. They have been charged with conspiracy to defraud HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Barclays Bank and Lloyds TSB between 13 October, 2009 and 28 September, 2010. They are suspected of using the Zeus data-stealing Trojan to harvest banking details, which they then used to transfer money out of victims' accounts.

The 10 people charged with conspiracy to defraud are: Yuriy Korovalenko, Yevhen Kulibaba, Karina Kostromina, Aleksander Kusner, Roman Zenyk, Eduard Babaryka, Valerij Milka, Iryna Prakochyk, Ivars Poikans, and Kaspars Cliematnieks.

Eight of the defendants — Korovalenko, Kulibaba, Kostromina, Kusner, Zenyk, Babaryka, Poikans and Cliematnieks — are also charged with money laundering. At the time of writing, all had been remanded in custody to appear at Southwark Crown Court at an undetermined date for commital. The remaining three defendants were also remanded in custody. 

The eleventh defendant, Zurab Revazishvili, who is Georgian and 34 years old, was charged with being in possession of a Lithuanian passport that related to someone else.

Metropolitan Police arrested 20 people in a series of dawn raids on Tuesday. Police believe that 19 of the people were involved in the theft of £6m or more from UK bank accounts. Detective superintendent Charlie McMurdie told ZDNet UK on Wednesday that the alleged fraud was international in scope, and could amount to significant losses.

The nine people who were arrested but have not been charged were given police bail, and will appear in court in October, a Metropolitan Police spokesman told ZDNet UK on Thursday.

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