- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Russian Embassy in Washington accused the U.S. of “kidnapping” a suspected cybercriminal arrested last week in connection with allegedly operating a prolific online hacking service.

Russian citizen Jurijs Martisevs was arrested June 28 in connection with allegedly helping run an online malware service accused of abetting tens of thousands of computer hackers conduct cyberattacks against American businesses and other targets dating back to 2006, according to the Justice Department.

“We consider this arrest as another case of kidnapping of a Russian citizen by the U.S. authorities in violation of the current bilateral agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters as of 1999,” the Russian Embassy in Washington said through its official Facebook page Wednesday.

Russia is actively monitoring the situation and has requested permission from the U.S. to visit Mr. Martisevs as soon as possible.

“The Embassy demands from the American side unconditional observance of the legitimate rights and interests of the Russian citizen,” the statement said.

Mr. Martisevs and a Latvian co-conspirator, Ruslands Bondars, operated an illegal online service that catered to as many as 30,000 customers and sold “some of the most prolific malware known to the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” according to the indictment.

Each faces four counts including wire fraud and felony hacking.

Charging documents unsealed Wednesday by the Justice Department initially described Mr. Martisevs as a Latvian citizen who resided between Riga and Moscow. The U.S. subsequently determined him to be a Russian citizen with “nonresident” status in Latvia, a spokesperson for the Justice Department clarified Thursday.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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