- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A lawyer representing Donald Trump Jr. in matters related to Russia’s involvement in last year’s White House election previously defended a Moscow cybercriminal convicted of developing malware responsible for infecting over a million computers in the U.S. and abroad.

Before being retained by President Trump’s eldest son this week, personal attorney Alan Futefas represented Russian hacker Nikita Kuzmin in a high-stake cybercrime case centered around the Gozi virus, a malicious computer program that caused millions of dollars in damages by siphoning banking credentials from computers across the globe.

Kuzmin was arrested while visiting the U.S. in 2010 and secretly pleaded guilty the following year after agreeing to assist federal prosecutors. He was sentenced in 2016 to three years’ time served and ordered to pay nearly $7 million in restitution.

Kuzmin designed Gozi to work with customized ‘web injects’ created by other criminals that could be used to enable the malware to target information from specific banks,” the Justice Department explained at the hacker’s sentencing last year. “Once Kuzmin’s customers succeeded in infecting victims’ computers with Gozi, the malware caused victims’ bank account information to be sent to a server that Kuzmin controlled where, as long as the criminals had paid their weekly rental fee, Kuzmin gave them access to it.”

Kuzmin “made at least a quarter of a million dollars renting and selling Gozi to other criminals,” according to prosecutors.

Currently Mr. Futefas is representing Ziv Orenstein, an Israeli man accused of participating in a massive “pump and dump” scheme prosecutors have described as “securities fraud on cyber steroids.”

“If you’re a careful lawyer who cares about what you do, each representation is an awesome responsibility,” Mr. Futefas told The Washington Post this week.

Reuters reported Monday that the younger Mr. Trump had retained Mr. Futefas for matters related to Russia’s involvement in his father’s election last November, including an alleged Kremlin-ordered hacking campaign targeting Mr. Trump’s former opponent.

The U.S. intelligence community believes Russian state-sponsored hackers and propagandists targeted Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton last year in order to boost her Republican rival’s White House bid.

Investigators in the House, Senate and Justice Department are separately considering whether anyone involved in Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russian actors during last year’s election, and his oldest son disclosed an email chain Tuesday containing an exchange he had ahead of meeting with a Russian last year who promised damaging information on Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.

The White House and Kremlin have vehemently denied allegations of collusion.

The president announced Sunday morning that he discussed “forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit” with his Russian counterpart in order to safeguard against election hacking and “many other negative things,” only to denounce the plan several hours later.

“The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t,” Mr. Trump tweeted in part.

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