WASHINGTON, October 15. /TASS/. The US authorities arrested Russian citizen Maxim Boyko as part of investigation into computer fraud and money laundering, the US Department of Justice said on Thursday.
According to a department’s statement, 30-year-old Boyko was arrested "in late March 2020 while visiting the United States." This was also when charges against him were filed.
Overall, 20 people have been charged as part of the case, including citizens of Georgia and Latvia. Criminal proceedings are under way in the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal and the United States. More than 40 searches were carried out in Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, Spain, Latvia and Portugal.
Russian diplomats are providing consular assistance to Boyko, the press service of the Russian embassy in Washington told TASS.
"The embassy’s consular department was notified about the issue by the US authorities. We are aware of the situation. We keep in contact with Maxim Boyko and his relatives in Russia, and provide the required consular and legal assistance. We are keeping track of the matter," the embassy said.
Boyko pleaded not guilty, his lawyer Arkady Bukh told TASS.
"Our client was among the first to be arrested on money laundering charges. He pleaded not guilty," Bukh said, adding that the defense team expects the case to be heard by a jury.
The lawyer said the defense team would contest the reasoning of US attorneys, who insist that the participants of the purported criminal scheme were aware that the money were obtained by illegal means.
"One of our reasons <…> is that those people were carrying out financial transactions without knowing that the money was stolen," he said. "We hope that this reason <…> will help to remove from the case the element of money laundering, which is exactly what they are accused of."
"The money was indeed stolen, and organizations were indeed robbed," he said. "But it is important to understand that not all players on the market were aware that the money was stolen."