Both US, Russia request Czech extradites arrested Russian hacker

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The United States and Russia have both requested the extradition of a Russian arrested in Prague and indicted in the U.S. for hacking computers of social media companies, the Czech justice ministry said on Wednesday.

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The ministry will review the requests for the extradition of Yevgeniy Nikulin, who a U.S. federal grand jury said had hacked into the U.S.-based social media companies LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring. The requests will then be referred to a Prague court, a spokeswoman said.

If the court determines both requests are valid, the justice minister would make the extradition decision, she added.

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Czech police detained Nikulin in October in Prague, where he remains in custody. His arrest was carried out in cooperation with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A federal grand jury in Oakland, California, indicted him on Oct. 21.

LinkedIn Corp has said the arrest was related to a 2012 breach at the social networking company that might have compromised the credentials of 100 million users, prompting it to launch a massive password reset operation.

Russia’s foreign ministry has criticized the arrest, saying it showed Washington was mounting a global manhunt against Russian citizens.

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The U.S. government had accused Russia of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organizations before the Nov. 8 presidential election. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said a hacking scandal would not be in Russia’s interests.

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