NEW YORK, August 18. /TASS/. Russian national Denis Dubnikov, detained in the Netherlands last November on suspicion of money laundering, has been extradited to the United States, the US Department of Justice said in a statement.
"An alleged cryptocurrency money launderer was extradited this week from the Netherlands to the United States to face charges in the District of Oregon," the statement reads. "Denis Dubnikov, 29, a Russian citizen, made his initial appearance in federal court today in Portland. A five-day jury trial is scheduled to begin on October 4."
"According to court documents, Dubnikov and his co-conspirators laundered the proceeds of ransomware attacks on individuals and organizations throughout the United States and abroad. Specifically, Dubnikov and his accomplices laundered ransom payments extracted from victims of Ryuk ransomware attacks," the US Department of Justice stated.
"After receiving ransom payments, Ryuk actors, Dubnikov and his co-conspirators, and others involved in the scheme, allegedly engaged in various financial transactions, including international financial transactions, to conceal the nature, source, location, ownership, and control of the ransom proceeds."
"In July 2019, Dubnikov allegedly laundered more than $400,000 in Ryuk ransom proceeds. Those involved in the conspiracy laundered at least $70 million in ransom proceeds," the statement said. "If convicted, Dubnikov faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison."
Dubnikov’s lawyer Arkady Bukh, who represented his interests in the Netherlands, told TASS on Thursday that US prosecutors still did not come up with an evidence base and the defense of the Russian national in the United States would be insisting on his innocence.
"As of today, there is no evidence base, it is expected to be presented by prosecutors at later stages [of the case] and this is when it will be clear what they have against him," the lawyer said. "The client pleads not guilty and will be fighting to prove his innocence. However, the defense needs to be granted with the briefs on the merit in order to get a detailed picture of what the prosecution has and to prepare for the jury trial, scheduled for October 4."
Local media reported that extradited Dubnikov made his initial appearance in a federal court in the District of Oregon on August before US Magistrate Judge Jolie Russo. According to the court’s later statement, he was arraigned and pleaded not guilty.
Dubnikov’s lawyer Bukh said earlier that his defendant was denied entry to Mexico in early November last year and was sent to Amsterdam, where he was detained adding that in fact "it was a capture." According to the lawyer, the paperwork for the detention was most likely prepared during his client’s flight from Mexico to the Netherlands upon a request of the US Department of Justice.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Dubnikov had been detained in Amsterdam at the request of the US Department of Justice. According to the newspaper, the American authorities accuse him of money laundering for the so-called Ryuk group of cybercriminals and receiving a remuneration of $400,000 in bitcoins. The newspaper claims that this group may be behind a series of ransomware attacks on the US healthcare system in 2020, when it allegedly extorted millions of dollars from its victims.
In October 2020, the FBI warned of cyberattacks on the US healthcare system with the use of ransomware. According to the agency, the criminals used viruses for data theft and the disruption of healthcare services.