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Russia says US ‘kidnapped’ hacker

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Associated Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin. File picture: Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service

Washington/Moscow - Russia accused the United States on Tuesday of violating a bilateral treaty and “kidnapping” a Russian accused of hacking into US retailers' computer systems to steal credit card data.

The US Department of Homeland Security said on Monday the Secret Service had arrested Roman Valerevich Seleznev, 30, on July 5 for actions carried out from 2009 to 2011.

Russian media carried reports that the man arrested may be the son of a member of parliament, Valery Seleznev. The deputy told Russia's Itar-Tass news agency he had not been able to speak to his son but added: “This is a monstrous lie and a provocative act.”

The man was apprehended in an airport in the Maldives, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“We consider this as the latest unfriendly move from Washington,” it said in a statement on its website.

“This is not the first time the US side, ignoring a bilateral treaty... on mutual assistance in criminal matters, has gone ahead with what amounts to the kidnapping of a Russian citizen.”

Roman Seleznev was indicted in Washington state in March 2011 on charges including bank fraud, causing damage to a protected computer, obtaining information from a protected computer and aggravated identity theft, the US agency said in a statement.

The indictment said Seleznev hacked into websites ranging from those run by the Phoenix Zoo, a branch of Schlotzsky's Deli and many other small restaurants and entertainment venues around the country.

Relations between Russia and the United States are at a low ebb in Vladimir Putin's third term as president, with the former Cold War enemies divided over the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine as well as on human rights, democracy and defence matters. - Reuters


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