Russian businessman’s Kremlin ties may prove intelligence

Former Justice Department and Homeland Security officials say Vladislav Klyushin’s Moscow-based cybersecurity firm’s work with the Russian government and Klyushin’s alleged ties with an ex-Russian GRU military intelligence officer are of keen interest to US law enforcement and intelligence officials. Will be

The Russian businessman, who is in his early 40s, appeared via videoconference in federal court in Massachusetts on Monday for a hearing that was to take place. But according to Magistrate Judge Marianne Baller, Klyushin’s US-based attorney, Maxim Nemtsev, did not file the necessary paperwork for the hearing. Now the hearing will be held on Wednesday.

US prosecutors have charged Klyushin and four other Russian men with an elaborate insider trading scheme that included hacking into the companies Tesla and other firms used to file Securities and Exchange Commission reports.

The US government has not publicly linked Klyushin to Russian interference in the 2016 election. But one of Klyushin’s co-defendants in the securities fraud case is Ivan Ermakov, one of a dozen GRU executives who were convicted in 2018 by a federal grand jury in the 2016 election by hacking and leaking Democratic National Committee documents. prompted to intervene.

Klyushin’s case is the latest high-stakes US discovery of a Russian citizen with potentially illuminating connections to Russian hacking activity targeting US interests.

Christopher Krebs, the former head of the US Cyber ​​Security and Infrastructure Security Agency, called Klyshine’s arrest and prosecution a potential “goldmine” for US intelligence because it could shed additional light on GRU operations against the US and its allies. “It’s a great achievement for a couple of reasons: If he turns around, he may be able to confirm the intelligence community’s findings about the Russian effort in the 2016 election,” Krebs told CNN.

Even if Klyushin doesn’t cooperate, Krebs said, a conviction on securities fraud charges “could send a strong signal to others like him that they don’t have complete freedom of movement outside of Russia.”

Klyushin’s Switzerland-based attorney, Oliver Cyrick, told CNN in an email that his client denies the US securities fraud allegations and other US allegations and “intends to use all available legal remedies to ensure his defense.” “

Cyrick said US intelligence officers tried to recruit Klyshin in the south of France in 2019 and British intelligence did the same in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2020. Serkik declined to elaborate on the events, which were first reported by Bloomberg News.

The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not immediately respond to Cyrick’s statement. The UK Foreign Office declined to comment on CNN.

From the Alps to the Massachusetts Prison

Clyushin was arrested in Switzerland in March 2021 during a ski vacation with the family, according to Ciric. Klyushin was extradited last month to the US, where he now faces hacking and securities fraud charges for his alleged role in a multimillion-dollar scheme between 2018 and 2020.

US prosecutors accused Klyushin, Ermakov and their co-conspirators of using access to non-public financial records to make tens of millions of dollars on stock trades.

Ermakov worked at Klyushin’s firm, M-13, which, according to its website, claims to offer “IT solutions for the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation,” among other government agencies.

Klyushin wrote to Ermakov, whom the Justice Department described as a now-former GRU official, in May 2019 describing the scheme had nearly $1 million in profits over the past seven months, according to a US indictment.

Ermakov could not be reached for comment. M-13 did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Cyrik previously told CNN that the US indictment and extradition were “outrageous” and alleged that the “real reason” for Klyushin’s arrest and extradition has to do with the nature of his work and contacts within the Russian government.

Former US Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kellyanne Dwyer said Klyushin seemed like a natural target for US investigators.

Dwyer, now a partner focused on cyber security at the Alston & Bird law firm, told CNN. He stated that he had no knowledge of any non-public information regarding Klyushin’s case.

Holden Triplett, a former senior FBI official based in Russia, said the US arrest of Klyshine could compromise any Russian intelligence activity that Klyshin or his firm was aware of.

“When someone like this is arrested, any operation that they are immediately aware of becomes suspicious from a counter-intelligence perspective,” Triplett told CNN. “Everything they touched is now under the microscope.”

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