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Russian Foreign Ministry will do everything to have Vladimir Drinkman return home soon

February 14, 2015, 16:39 UTC+3
Drinkman was extradited from the Netherlands on Friday and taken to the US state of New Jersey
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© ТАСС/EPA/JERRY LAMPEN

MOSCOW, February 14. /TASS/. The extradition to the U.S. of Russian citizen Vladimir Drinkman demonstrates Washington continues the practice of ex-territorial application of law, which ‘damages additionally the complicated Russian-American relations,’ Russian Foreign Ministry's Special Representative for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov said on Saturday.

Drinkman was extradited from the Netherlands on Friday and taken to the US state of New Jersey. He is expected to face trial in Newark, New Jersey, on February 17 where charges against him will be brought.

According to investigators, Drinkman and also three other Russian citizens and a Ukrainian national are involved in organizing the hacking of computer networks of several companies and stealing of the numbers of about 160 million credit cards.

"Washington continues the vicious practice violating norms of international law - the extraterritorial application of the U.S. laws against citizens of the Russian Federation, without presenting proved accusations, thus breaching the Russian-American agreement of 1999 on mutual legal assistance in criminal affairs," he added.

He continued, in the U.S. Russians usually face "clear prejudgement of local courts."

From June, 2012, Drinkman was arrested in the Netherlands at the request from FBI. The Russian diplomat expressed regret the Dutch side did not listen to arguments of Moscow asking for Drinkman’s extradition to Russia.

"Nor have the Netherlands followed arguments of the defence, which had reasons to call the case politically motivated and which pointed to the Netherlands to possible violations of the European convention on protection of human rights and freedoms if the Russian citizen is extradited to the U.S."

The Russian diplomat said Moscow will continue to provide to Drinkman as a Russian citizen all necessary consular and legal assistance.

"We demand that the U.S. side observes strictly his rights, including the procedural rights and legal interests. We will seek soonest return of our citizen to Russia," he said.

According to investigators, Drinkman and also three other Russian citizens and a Ukrainian national are involved in organizing the hacking of computer networks of several companies and stealing of the numbers of about 160 million credit cards.

The scam victims, among others, are the NASDAQ electronic exchange, JetBlue airline, JC Penney and 7-Eleven trading networks, French retailer Carrefour and Belgian bank Dexia. The losses caused by the hackers exceeded $300 million.

The defendants were engaged in criminal activities from 2005 to summer 2012.

Drinkman, who is the prime suspect in the case, could face up to 20 years behind bars in the US.

This January, a court in the Netherlands ruled in favour of Drinkman’s extradition to the U.S. Russia has also sought the citizen’s extradition. Drinkman said he wanted to be extradited to Russia where his daughter and an ex-wife live.

Four Russians and the Ukrainian national were charged by the New Jersey court in absentia. Drinkman and another Russian Dmitry Smilyanets were arrested in the Netherlands in 2012 upon a request by the U.S. authorities.

Smilyanets was extradited to the US, and in August 2013 he pleaded not guilty and is still in custody. Three other defendants - Russians Roman Kotov and Alexander Kalinin, and Ukrainian Mikhail Rytikov - are on a wanted list.

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