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Thai Police Arrest U.S.-Wanted Russian Cybercriminal

The Associated Press
Crime Suppression Division of the Thailand via AP

Thai police have arrested a Russian national wanted by the United States on suspicion of cyber-related crimes, local police announced on Friday.

Authorities arrested Sergey Medvedev on February 2 while on holiday in Bangkok on the request of U.S. authorities.

Medvedev, 31, is suspected of co-founding the Infraud Organisation, an online network engaged in large-scale identity theft and credit card fraud.

“(Medvedev) is now being detained at Bangkok Remand Prison waiting for U.S. authorities to take him for prosecution in the U.S.,” said Nuthapon Rattanamongkolsak, a Thai officer from the Crime Suppression Division.

“He has no real job here and spent his life as any other tourist,” he continued, adding that he expected Medvedev to face extradition within the coming weeks.

The arrest follows indictments of 36 individuals by the U.S. Justice Department believed to have involvement with the criminal organization, which went under the slogan “In Fraud We Trust.”

The organization, founded in 2010, operated as an online forum with around 11,000 members, who stole a total 4.3 million credit cards, debit cards and bank accounts worldwide, causing $530 million worth of losses for legitimate account holders.

Thirteen people have so far been arrested across seven separate countries, including the U.S., Australia, the UK, France, Italy, Kosovo, and Serbia.

Russia is known for its large number of active cybercriminals, with most arrests taking place abroad because of the difficulties in extraditing them from Russia.

In 2017, U.S. arrests of suspected Russian cybercriminals rose to a record high of seven people, compared to the past average of two. One of the most prominent arrests was that in Stanislav Lisov, who is accused of creating a malware system that caused $5 million worth of damage to worldwide financial institutions.

Just last week, Russian Foreign Ministry warned its citizens to be careful if traveling abroad because the United States was “hunting” for Russians to arrest, but made no inference as to whether the suspected individuals were guilty.

“Despite our calls to improve cooperation between the relevant U.S. and Russian authorities … U.S. special services have effectively continued ‘a hunt’ for Russians around the world,” the ministry asserted. “Considering these circumstances, we strongly insist that Russian citizens carefully weigh up all the risks when planning trips abroad.”

According to the FBI, Russia agents also interfered in the 2016 presidential election by hacking the internal servers of the Democratic National Committee, although no evidence of such activity has ever been publicly provided.

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