Latvia to extradite computer hacker suspect to US (Update)

Aug 06, 2013 by Gary Peach
Suporters of Deniss Calovskis protest against his extradition to the United States in Riga, Latvia, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013. Latvia's government has approved the extradition of the man accused by the United States of helping create a virus that affected over a million computers worldwide and allowed hackers to steal millions of dollars from bank accounts. Slogans read: Freedom to Deniss, We are against Deniss Calovskis' Extradition. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov)

Latvia's government on Tuesday approved the extradition of a man accused by the United States of helping create a virus that affected over a million computers worldwide, including many at NASA, and that allowed hackers to steal millions of dollars from victims' bank accounts.

U.S. authorities earlier this year accused Deniss Calovskis, along with suspects from Russia and Romania, of participating in a conspiracy that started in 2005 to create and disseminate the so-called Gozi virus. Once the virus was embedded on victims' computers it siphoned off passwords and bank account information.

Latvian ministers, by a vote of 7 to 5, with one abstaining, approved the extradition of Calovskis, who was born in 1985.

Martins Panke, spokesman for Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, said the country's chief prosecutor told ministers before the vote that there was sufficient evidence to link Calovskis to the crimes.

Many Latvians were vehemently opposed to the idea of extraditing Calovskis since he faces 67 years in prison if found guilty by a U.S. court, which they feel is excessive.

The government decision is final, but Calovskis' lawyer, Saulvedis Varpins, has told Latvian media that he will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to prevent the extradition.

It was unclear when the extradition could take place, but a Justice Ministry spokeswoman told The Associated Press that it would take at least several days.

According to documentation released by U.S. authorities in January, Romanian citizen Mihai Ionut Paunescu set up online infrastructure that allowed others to distribute the damaging programs, causing tens of millions of dollars in losses and affecting well over a million computers.

Some 200 computers of the U.S. space agency NASA were affected by the virus between December 2007 and August 2012, the documents revealed.

Paunescu was arrested in Romania in January, but the third accused co-conspirator, Nikita Kuzmin, a Russian national, was arrested in New York on various charges, including bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy.

Explore further: Report: FBI's anthrax investigation was flawed

4 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US: 3 charged over 'Gozi' global computer virus (Update)

Jan 23, 2013

Three men from Russia, Romania and Latvia were in custody Wednesday in the U.S. on charges that they spread a computer virus to more than a million computers worldwide, including almost 200 of the U.S. space agency, siphoning ...

Armenia jails Russian computer virus 'mastermind'

May 22, 2012

A court in Armenia on Tuesday gave a four-year jail sentence to the alleged Russian mastermind behind a computer virus crime group which infected some 30 million computers worldwide.

Two Latvians indicted in US in 'scareware' scam

Jun 23, 2011

Two Latvians have been indicted and dozens of computers and servers seized in the United States and Europe in a crackdown on international cybercrime, the US Justice Department said Wednesday.

Alleged Russian cybercriminal charged in New York court

Jan 18, 2012

The Justice Department announced indictments against two Russians Tuesday for allegedly hacking into computers of US financial institutions to steal credit card numbers and stock information before running up bills.

4 Russians, 1 Ukrainian charged in massive hacking

Jul 25, 2013

(AP)—Four Russian nationals and a Ukrainian have been charged with running a sophisticated hacking organization that over seven years penetrated computer networks of more than a dozen major American and international corporations, ...

Recommended for you

Report: FBI's anthrax investigation was flawed

Dec 19, 2014

The FBI used flawed scientific methods to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others, federal auditors said Friday in a report sure to fuel skepticism over the FBI's ...

Study reveals mature motorists worse at texting and driving

Dec 18, 2014

A Wayne State University interdisciplinary research team in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has made a surprising discovery: older, more mature motorists—who typically are better drivers in ...

Napster co-founder to invest in allergy research

Dec 17, 2014

(AP)—Napster co-founder Sean Parker missed most of his final year in high school and has ended up in the emergency room countless times because of his deadly allergy to nuts, shellfish and other foods.

LA mayor plans 7,000 police body cameras in 2015

Dec 16, 2014

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a plan Tuesday to equip 7,000 Los Angeles police officers with on-body cameras by next summer, making LA's police department the nation's largest law enforcement agency to move ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.