Accused Russian hacker appears in federal court - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Accused Russian hacker appears in federal court

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 by Krystal Paco

Guam - "I did not arrest him in the Maldives. I arrested him when he landed in Guam," expressed US Secret Service Agent Dan Schwandner, who took the stand in federal court testifying on behalf of the US Government during an identity hearing this afternoon.

Accused Russian hacker Roman Selevnez was arrested by federal authorities earlier this month and detained at the Department of Corrections here on Guam. He faces multiple counts of identity fraud in Washington State.

Earlier today, District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood denied defense's motions to discharge and release Seleznev and continue the hearing in order to receive more information from the federal government. As a result of the denied motions, the court returned this afternoon to determine whether or not the roman Seleznev here on Guam is in fact the one named in the superceding indictment in Washington on fraud charges. If in fact he is, he will be moved to that jurisdiction.

According to Schwandner, US Secret Service arrived in Maldives with a warrant of arrest issued by the US, a grand jury indictment, and a "red notice" issued by International Police (also known as Interpol) for Seleznev. Schwandner testifies that the country of Maldives is one of the 190 members of Interpol and that US Secret Service traveled to the island nation to confirm selevnez's location as well as present the red notice to Maldivian authorities who could determine how best to proceed.

The red notice included the defendant's name and other identifying particulars.  Schwandner says that US Secret Service had a "coordinated effort" with Maldivian authorities for Seleznev's arrest as his profile matched that of the defendant, including a mole located just below his left eye.

The agent states that Seleznev was called into the tourist police station at the Maldives airport and asked to sit on a couch. He was then handcuffed with Schwandner's handcuffs - what he claims was not an arrest as he reports Seleznev "could walk freely" and "handcuffs were in front."

Seleznev was then escorted onto an aircraft chartered by US Secret Service where the agent says the Maldivian authorities turned over Seleznev to US custody "when the plane went wheels up from Maldivian soil."

When questioned by Civille, the agent confirmed that there was nothing in writing to confirm the agreement he made with Maldivian authorities nor was he purview to conversations with higher authorities stating "they told me - the Maldivian police."

The agent also confirms he had more than one point of contact with Maldvian authorities but couldn't name a single one.

This testimony follows defense's motions that Seleznev be discharged and released because of "gross government misconduct." the defense accuses US federal agents of violating international laws when they kidnapped Seleznev from the Maldives, placed him on a private jet and flew him to Guam.

Earlier today, the defense provided media with their response to Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood's action to deny their motions. "Of course its disappointing," he said. "But she did preserve the issue for later if it turns out that Mr. Seleznev goes back to Washington, so I think its an issue that will continue to come up in this case. We hope that the judge in Washington will have a complete evidentiary hearing than what we were able to present here you know that was part of the issue today so there's a lot evidence out there that we haven't seen yet."

Meanwhile US Attorney Maravic David has argued that Seleznev was not kidnapped and that at the direction of the president or the US Attorney General the Federal Bureau of Investigations can arrest individuals for violating United States law, even if their actions contravene customary international law.

Seleznev is described by the US Secret Service as one of the world's most prolific traffickers of stolen information.  He is accused of hacking into computer servers worldwide to facilitate his multi-million dollar illegal operation which involved stolen credit card data.
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