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Federal judge denies bail for Russian with close ties to Putin

Vladislav Klyushin was seen "by U.S. intelligence as someone who may have confidential information or state secrets,” said his lawyer.

A Russian businessman with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin who is accused of being involved in an insider trading and hacking scheme will be detained pending trial, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled Monday morning. 

Image: Vladislav Klyushin
Vladislav Klyushin, an owner of an information technology company with ties to the Russian government.U.S. Justice Department via Reuters

The man, Vladislav Klyushin, 41, had sought to be released pending his federal trial in Boston. He proposed a $2.5 million bond comprised of properties in Russia and the U.K., as well as hiring private guards to ensure his presence in court. 

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler denied bail, saying Klyushin had "absolutely no incentive to remain in this country.”

"This court is not convinced that a defendant, who is an individual well-versed in sophisticated financial matters, has access to substantial financial resources and absolutely no ties to this country, will appear as required,” Bowler said.

Bowler wrote that a Pretrial Services report lists $7 million in Russian and London real estate, as well as a yacht valued in excess of $4 million, as just some of the assets Klyushin is alleged to have. 

She also cited the lack of any extradition treaty with Russia and the difficulty of seizing his London property if he fled the country as two of the reasons to deny him his release.

A U.S. attorney for Klyushin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Klyushin was extradited to the U.S. from Switzerland last month. He was arrested on insider trading and computer hacking charges and had previously spurned approaches by U.S. and British intelligence agencies while traveling in Europe, his lawyer told NBC News.

U.S. officials described Klyushin as being close to Putin, and one of his co-defendants in the insider trading case has also been charged with 2016 election hacking.

“He was perceived by U.S. intelligence as someone who may have confidential information or state secrets,” said Oliver Ciric, who represented Klyushin in a bid to keep the Swiss government from extraditing him to the U.S.

Some of the charges carry maximum terms of 20 years in prison — a possibility that appears to hand U.S. intelligence agencies considerable leverage.

Klyushin was arrested when he flew in a private jet with his family to Switzerland for a ski vacation in March and was held there until he was flown to Boston over the weekend.

Ciric said his argument to Swiss judges in his unsuccessful bid to stop the extradition was that “this is not a simple case of insider trading — the insider trading charges are disingenuous.”

He added, “It’s not a secret that his company had a series of government contracts in Russia, including with some of the national intelligence agencies.”