- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 12, 2017

Karim Baratov, a Canadian man arrested in March and accused of aiding Russian hackers blamed with breaching hundreds of millions of Yahoo accounts in 2014, will forgo an upcoming extradition hearing so he can be tried by U.S. prosecutors, his attorney said Friday.

Mr. Baratov, 22, will either waive the previously scheduled hearing or consent to being extradited stateside in hopes of expediting lingering legal proceedings connected to the colossal Yahoo breach, lawyer Amedeo DiCarlo told CBC News.

“He can’t wait to change scenery,” Mr. DiCarlo said.

Mr. Baratov was arrested in March near Hamilton, Ontario, under the Extradition Act and charged with helping three Russian men conduct a wide-scale hacking campaign against journalists, politicians and private-sector employees using previously compromised Yahoo accounts, according to the Justice Department. He’s remained in Canadian custody ever since.

Three Russians including two intelligence officer provided Mr. Baratov with stolen Yahoo credentials and hired him to use that data to breach another 80 victim accounts on their behalf, prosecutors alleged.

His attorney, however, has insisted his client wasn’t at the center of an international espionage operation as prosecutors have portrayed.

“He’s not the person they described,” Mr. DiCarlo told CBC on Friday.

“It’s not even close to that,” he added. “So it’s so blown out of proportion and I think that’s kind of where we are.”

The Justice Department has charged Mr. Baratov with 10 counts ranging from computer hacking and wire fraud to economic espionage. Mr. DiCarlo said he plans to meet this weekend with U.S. attorneys in order to decide his client’s next steps, including the possibility of pleading to lesser charges.

“Go there, finish it there, let’s get some lawyers and let’s move on with this,” he said. “Keeping him here, I think, is just going to waste more time.”

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