by Sabrina Salas Matanane
Guam - District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood has postponed Tuesday’s hearing for accused Russian hacker Roman Seleznev until she determines whether she has jurisdiction over the case. Her order to vacate Tuesday’s hearing follows a motion filed by Seleznev’s attorney for his release and to discharge the case altogether.
According to a Motion to Discharge and Release Defendant filed Monday by defense attorney Patrick Civille, he argues the case should be terminated for “outrageous governmental misconduct”. The defense alleges Seleznev was illegally taken into U.S. custody and in a “manner contrary to law”. As we reported the U.S. Secret Service in a media release described Seleznev as one of the world’s most prolific traffickers of stolen information. The release stated he was picked up on Guam. However in Civille’s motion he writes that he was “in fact taken into custody by agents of the United States Secret Service while physically present in the Republic of the Maldives. While on foreign soil, Seleznev was detained, handcuffed and questioned by U.S. law enforcement agents who then quickly spirited Seleznev away from Maldives to Guam on a private jet chartered by the United States. His arrest therefore occurred on foreign soil, not upon the territory of the United States, and thus his presence before this court has been procured in an unlawful manner.”
Attorney Civille added U.S. law enforcement agents have no power to execute an arrest warrant outside the United States absent express statutory authority. He wrote that Seleznev was lawfully present in the Maldives which had not filed any criminal charges against him and had not ordered his arrest under Maldives law. Seleznev according to court documents was on vacation with his partner and her minor child.
As they were boarding the plane to head to Russia, he was taken into custody of Secret Service agents and then brought to Guam.
Seleznev was indicted three years ago in the state of Washington on multiple counts of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to the indictment he’s accused of hacking into retail point of sales systems and installing malicious software on the systems to steal credit card numbers. His alleged crimes were not only perpetrated in the U.S. but worldwide. Some of the banks he’s accused of defrauding include Chase Bank, Capital One and Citibank.
Judge Tydingco-Gatewood has the ordered the U.S. Attorney’s Office to file its response to the motion by 5:00pm Tuesday, with a reply brief by the defense to be filed by 12:00 noon July 23rd.