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Czech Court Rejects Russian Hacking Suspect's Appeal For Asylum


Yevgeny Nikulin in a screen shot from a video shot in Moscow in 2015.

A Prague court on March 16 rejected Russian cybercrime suspect Yevgeny Nikulin's appeal against the Czech Interior Ministry's refusal to grant him political asylum.

Nikulin, 30, who has been in Czech custody since October 2016, is at the center of a tug-of-war between Moscow and Washington and may be extradited to either Russia or the United States.

The court said Nikulin's appeal was groundless and its goal was to avoid possible extradition to the United States.

Nikulin's 2016 arrest in Prague was based on a warrant issued by the United States, where he is suspected of hacking the LinkedIn and Formspring social networks and the Dropbox file hosting service in 2012-2013.

After he was detained, Russia asked the Czech authorities to extradite him to his home country, citing him as a suspect in a $2,000 online theft in 2009.

Nikulin denies he is a hacker. His lawyers have argued their client should be returned to Russia because he would not get a fair trial in the United States.

Nikulin faces a maximum 30 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines if convicted on U.S. charges including computer intrusion, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy, and trafficking in illegal access devices.

With reporting by Echo24.cz, Novinky.cz, and iDnes.cz
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