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Son of Russian politician accused of cyber crime by USA, under arrest in Guam

Russian citizen Roman Seleznyov whom the US suspects of cybercrime and personal data theft is in custody on the US island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean, Western District of Washington Assistant US Attorney, Todd Greenberg, told ITAR-TASS.

It was the first time that the 30-year-old Russian charged with stealing and trading credit card data faced the court in Guam, he said. The judge's verdict was to keep Seleznyov in custody. The next court hearing is scheduled for July 22.

The case is being scrutinized by special departments for cyber-and financial crime of the US Secret Service and Department of Justice, as well as Washington Attorney.

Greenberg declined to disclose where Seleznyov was detained and from where he was delivered to Guam referring to reasons of confidentiality for the time of investigation. Neither did he reveal what countries assisted the US in search for the Russian citizen and his arrest.

On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service announced Seleznyov had been detained on Saturday, July 5. According to the investigators, he is registered as Moscow resident and known among hackers as Track2.

Seleznyov is suspected of having stolen and sold data about the US citizens' credit cards from October 2009 to February 2011. For these purposes, he had hacked the US retail payment systems using malicious software, the investigators said. Seleznyov allegedly controlled several servers worldwide, created and maintained a number of special forums to sell the stolen information.

In March 2011, Washington court pressed 29 charges in absentia that can face Seleznyov with a several-decade imprisonment and million-dollar fines. Besides, Nevada initiated a criminal case on suspicion of participating in a criminal group of blackmailers.

Seleznyov and other transnational criminals had inflicted considerable harm to the US financial infrastructure, which should not be underestimated, said director of the Secret Service Julia Pierson. The service set up under the Department of Finance traditionally deals with financial crimes along with guarding higher-ups.

By the Department of Justice's estimates, credit card swindle does the US financial institutions an annual damage of $40 billion.

The US Attorney for the Western District of Washington, Jenny Durkan, said on Monday the detained citizen remained a suspect and the presumption of innocence would remain in force until and if the charges were convincingly confirmed in court.

Detained Russian turns out to be son of lawmaker

State Duma member representing the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) Valery Seleznyov has confirmed his son Roman had been detained by US secret service in the Maldives.

"I am now in negotiations with the Russian Foreign Ministry. Kidnapping is a crime," he told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday. "The country must protect its citizens, and Roman should go back to Russia."

Foreign Ministry outraged by the incident

Russia considers the detention of the Russian citizen Roman Seleznyov by US secret services as Washington's unfriendly step, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

"We consider the incident as another Washington's unfriendly step," the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed.

"It is not the first time that the US kidnaps a Russian citizen ignoring the 1999 mutual legal assistance agreement," the ministry said. "In particular, the same occurred with Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, who were brought by force in the USA from third countries and convicted on questionable charges." "Noteworthy that we are not informed about the claims lodged against our compatriots, furthermore, as in Seleznyov's case, they don't even inform Russia's diplomatic agencies about their detention," the ministry emphasized.

About the stance of Maldives' authorities

"The stance of Maldives' authorities cannot be but outraging, since despite the existing international legislation norms they allowed another country's special service to kidnap a Russian citizen and take him out of the country," the diplomatic service stressed. "We demand that the Maldives' government provides necessary explanations."

"Russian diplomats are making every possible effort to find out the circumstances of Roman Seleznyov's detention and to provide his soonest return to homeland," the Foreign Ministry said. "We are insisting on intelligible explanations of the incident from US authorities, strict compliance with the rights of the Russian citizen and provision of consular access to him."

"In view of the aforementioned situation, we once more strongly recommend our compatriots to give serious consideration to Russian Foreign Ministry's warning published on the ministry's website regarding the risks linked with trips abroad when there are concerns that American law enforcement agencies might lodge any claims against them," the statement says.

[Source: Itar Tass, Washington, 08Jul14]

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