- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 2, 2016

A Russian media tycoon is offering nearly $700,000 to anyone who can unmask the hackers attempting to auction off his stolen emails.

News Media general director Aram Gabrelyanov on Wednesday said he’ll pay 1,000 Bitcoins — the equivalent of roughly $670,000 — for information that could identify members of “Anonymous International,” a hacking group that claims to be selling the media mogul’s personal correspondence and other sensitive information for one-tenth the price.

Individuals claiming to be associated with Anonymous International announced earlier in the week that they had obtained private emails, Facebook messages, digital photographs and other files taken from two mobile devices owned by Mr. Gabrelyanov, a Russian publisher whose News Media group is responsible for outlets including Life, a pro-Kremlin tabloid, among other projects.

“We tell the truth — of course — but we tell it the way that will lead the audience to the conclusions we need. That is what our country, our ideology, needs,” he told Mashable during an interview last year.

The bulk of the correspondence in question allegedly concerns Life’s business practices and is said to include conversations where Mr. Gabrelyanov and other executives held candid discussions concerning their colleagues, according to the hackers claiming responsibility. A website affiliated with Anonymous International has published several screenshots of email exchanges and photographs included in the trove, and said it is selling the cache for 100 Bitcoin — or about $67,000.

Mr. Gabrelyanov lashed out against the hackers in a social media post Wednesday and offered ten-times that amount for “iron proof” of Anonymous International’s identities, all the while denouncing the emails as having been manipulated or otherwise altered. 

On Facebook, the media mogul said hackers were paid an undisclosed amount last year after he was approached with the same trove of purportedly stolen emails, only for individuals to emerge again this week with new demands.

“[Expletive] you on the snout, blackmailers,” Mr. Gabrelyanov wrote Wednesday.

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