Admitted Russian Botnet Herder Receives 4-Year US Sentence

Russian National Maxim Senakh Was Extradited From Finland to Face US Charges

Maxim Senakh, who was extradited from Finland to the United States to face charges related to Ebury botnet attacks, has been sentenced to serve nearly four years in federal prison, after which he will be deported to his native Russia.

Senakh, who’s from Velikii Novgorod, Russia, is due to be deported to Russia after serving his sentence.

“Working within a massive criminal enterprise, Maxim Senakh helped create a sophisticated infrastructure that victimized thousands of internet users across the world,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory G. Brooker in a statement.

Senakh had pleaded guilty on March 28 to computer fraud and abuse, as well as wire fraud charges, before U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Schlitz in Minnesota federal court.

As part of his plea deal, Senakh admitted to participating in a cybercrime scheme that installed Ebury malware onto systems and harvested login credentials, allowing his gang to steal millions of dollars.

The investigation that collared Senakh was led by the FBI’s Minneapolis field office, and the Justice Department thanked police in Finland; Germany’s federal police office, the Bundeskriminalamt or BKA; the federal computer emergency response team of Germany, CERT-Bund; and cybersecurity firm ESET for assisting in the case.

Extradition From Finland

Senakh was indicted by a U.S. federal grand jury on Jan. 13, 2015, and arrested seven months later – on August 8 – at the request of U.S. authorities when he attempted to cross the border from Finland into Russia.

Senakh’s detention earned a swift rebuke from Moscow, with foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova labeling the arrest a “witch hunt.” Foreign ministry spokesman Konstantin Dolgov, meanwhile, told Russian state news agency TASS that the detention was another example of “the illegal practice of detaining Russian nationals in other countries, launched by the American authorities.”

Finland approved the U.S. extradition request in January 2016. At the time, Sanakh’s attorney in Finland, Kustaa M. Tamminen, said his client would appeal the judgment with the European Court of Human Rights, and slammed Finnish authorities for subjecting his client to a potentially draconian prison sentence.

“It is surprising that the threat of penalty, which can be in this case more than 100 years of imprisonment for Mr. Senakh in the U.S., hasn’t been regarded by the Finnish Ministry of Justice and Supreme Court as an obstacle for extradition; from the Finnish point of view such imprisonment would be very unreasonable,” Tamminen told the Wall Street Journal at the time.

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