- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The White House has praised the Czech Republic for extraditing Yevgeniy Nikulin, an accused Russian cybercriminal sent to San Francisco last week to face felony hacking charges stemming from breaches suffered by LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring.

“Bringing criminals to justice is an important aspect of maintaining the reliability of the internet and defending our core values,” the White House said in a statement Monday evening. “We applaud the Czech Republic for upholding the principles of accountability and justice in this matter.”

Mr. Nikulin, 30, was arrested in Prague in October 2016 and charged with nine felony counts related to the LinkedIn, Dropxbox and Formspring hacks. Russia subsequently brought comparatively minor hacking charges against him as well, however, spurring the 18-month custody battle fought between Washington and Moscow resolved last week by Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikan.

“In the United States he is wanted for very serious crimes, and the U.S. was active — putting out the international warrant for his arrest. [By comparison] Russia wanted him for a far older and less serious crime,” Mr. Pelikan told Czech TV after announcing Thursday’s decision to send Mr. Niulin to the U.S. rather than Russia.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Monday it was “outraged” over the outcome.

“We are disappointed that instead of taking legal norms into account, the Czech Republic has made a decision seeking to once again show loyalty to its ally, which has been declared an absolute priority recently,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, state-owned media reported. “We consider the decision made by Prague to be a deliberate and politically motivated step aimed at undermining the constructive foundations of bilateral cooperation.”

“[G]iven the anti-Russian hysteria in the United States, our citizen cannot be given a fair trial in that country,” the statement said.

Mr. Nikulin faces a maximum sentence of 30 years behind bars if convicted on all counts.

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

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