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U.S. charges Russian businessman with hacking, insider trading

One of Vladislav Klyushin’s co-defendants was among the 12 alleged Russian intelligence operatives charged in the U.S. with hacking the 2016 election.
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A Russian with close ties to the Kremlin decided to take a ski vacation to Switzerland with his family on his private jet.

That was a big mistake, considering he was in the crosshairs of the FBI.

Hacking and insider trading charges were unsealed Monday in Boston against Russian businessman Vladislav Klyushin after the United States secured his extradition from Switzerland. He had been arrested after stepping off the plane in March. Russia had urged the Swiss government not to send him to the U.S., according to Russian state media. 

Klyushin owns M13, a Russian company that offers media monitoring and cybersecurity services. He is accused of making tens of millions of dollars with accomplices through insider trading, using hacked confidential information about American companies.

Klyushin and his co-defendants “hacked U.S networks, stole inside information and cheated honest investors out of millions of dollars,” acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Mendell told reporters Monday. 

It was not immediately clear if Klyushin had hired a lawyer. 

Mendell noted that the case has a connection to the 2016 election hacking. One of Klyushin’s co-defendants — Ivan Ermakov — was among the 12 alleged Russian intelligence operatives charged in the U.S. over the hacking.

In October 2018, Ermakov was also charged in federal court in Pittsburgh in connection with his alleged role in hacking and related disinformation operations targeting international anti-doping agencies, sporting federations and anti-doping officials.

According to the charging documents, Ermakov worked at Klyushin's company, M13.

M13 marketed penetration testing and defensive hacking, and the company’s website said its “IT solutions” were used by “the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation, the Government of the Russian Federation, federal ministries and departments, regional state executive bodies, commercial companies and public organizations,” according to the indictment. 

Between at least in or about January 2018 and September 2020, Klyushin and his co-defendants hacked into two U.S.-based filing agents — vendors used by publicly traded companies to make quarterly and annual filings through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the indictment said.

Armed with this nonpublic information, Klyushin and his co-defendants traded on it, making tens of millions of dollars, the documents said.

One of the stocks they profited from was Tesla, the indictment said.

“If anyone is looking for good news this week, you can find some in this case,” Mendell said.