Alleged Yahoo ‘Hacker for Hire’ Waives Extradition Hearing

A Canadian man accused of participating in a massive hack attack against Yahoo has waived his right to an extradition hearing in Canada and is due to appear in U.S. court within the next two weeks, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports.

Karim Baratov, a 22-year-old Ontario resident, was arrested March 14 by local police under Canada’s Extradition Act after an indictment filed in San Francisco federal court charged him with hacking into 80 Yahoo accounts. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of all charges filed against him.

Baratov was one of four men indicted by the U.S. Justice Department on computer hacking, economic espionage and other criminal offenses tied to the hack of Yahoo in 2014, which exposed 500 million user accounts. The other three men are still at large, and were last known to be in Russia, the U.S. Justice Department said on March 15, when it announced the indictment.

U.S. prosecutors have accused Baratov of being a “hacker for hire.” They have also accused two of the other suspects named in the indictment – Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin – of working for an intelligence unit that’s part of Russia’s state security service, the FSB, and being Baratov’s handlers.

The FBI collaborates with the FSB on international cybercrime investigations.

The fourth man named in the indictment is Alexsey Belan, a Latvian who was arrested in Greece in 2013 on separate hacking charges. After he was released on bail, he fled to Russia, benefiting from “the protection afforded by Russian government officials, and from U.S. law enforcement’s inability to reach him in Russia,” according to the Justice Department’s application for his arrest (see Russian Cybercrime Rule No. 1: Don’t Hack Russians).

Held Without Bail

Baratov has been behind bars since his arrest. In Canadian court, the United States cited the example of Belan having fled Greek custody to argue that Baratov was a flight risk. An Ontario Superior Court judge denied Baratov’s request for bail.

Now, Baratov’s attorney, Amedeo DiCarlo, expects his client to be handed over to U.S. Marshals on September 8, but said at a press conference that the transfer could happen any time in the next two weeks. He’s said in media interviews that his client is bored and wants to face the charges filed against him as quickly as possible.

“Go there, finish it there, let’s get some lawyers and let’s move on with this,” DiCarlo told CBC News in a recent interview. “Keeping him here, I think, is just going to waste more time.”

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