- The Washington Times - Friday, February 9, 2018

Thai police announced Friday the arrest of Sergey Medvedev, a Russian national accused of co-founding the Infraud Organization, an “one-stop shop for cybercriminals” at the center of a sprawling criminal indictment recently unsealed by U.S. prosecutors.

Mr. Medvedev was arrested at the request of U.S. authorities in Bangkok on Feb. 2 and is currently in custody awaiting extradition, Thai authorities said Friday.

The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok declined to comment, Agence France-Presse reported.

The Justice Department named Mr. Medevedev in a criminal indictment unsealed Wednesday charging 36 individuals around the globe in connection with Infraud, “an internet-based cybercriminal enterprise engaged in the large-scale acquisition, sale and dissemination of stolen identities, compromised debit and credit cards, personally identifiable information, financial and banking information, computer malware and other contraband,” according to the department.

Infraud caused more than $530 million in actual losses to consumers, businesses and banks before their site was seized earlier this week, the indictment said.

Mr. Medvedev allegedly co-founded the organization in 2010 and is accused of operating an online currency exchange used by its members to conduct criminal transactions, according to the indictment unsealed Wednesday.

He fled to Thailand about six years ago and was apprehended last week after local authorities launched an investigation upon receiving a request from the FBI, the Bangkok Post reported.

“The United States has requested assistance from Thai police, and the police commissioner ordered the Crime Suppression Division to work on this case in late 2017,” said Maj. Nathapol Ratanamongkolsak, a senior officer of the police’s Crime Suppression Division, according to Khaosod English, another Thai news outlet.

Thai authorities kept Mr. Medvedev’s arrest under wraps for a week while international counterparts prepared to put the final touches on “Operation Shadow Web.” However, a multinational, DOJ-led effort that culminated in simultaneous raids this week in several countries concurrent with the seizure of Infraud’s website.

“Before the operation could be ready, they had to recheck their targets in various countries,” the police officer said.

More than a dozen people have been arrested in at least seven countries and counting in connection with “Operation Shadow Web,” albeit none in Russia where the absence of an extradition treaty with the U.S. has repeatedly caused prosecutors to pursue Russian cybercriminals traveling abroad, according to the Justice Department.

Czech police arrested Yevgeniy Nikulin while he vacationed in Prague in 2016, and last year police in Spain and Greece arrested Pyotr “Peter” Levashov and Alexander Vinnik, respectively. All three are Russian nationals facing criminal cybercrime charges in the U.S.

Russia has repeatedly filed competing extradition requests for suspected hackers arrested abroad, spurring several ongoing international custody disputes that have stifled pending U.S. prosecutions.

“The number of Russians arrested in other countries at the request of the US continues to increase,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday prior to the announcement of Mr. Medvedev’s arrest. “There were 11 such cases in 2017. We demand that the U.S. stop hunting down our citizens around the globe.”

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

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