Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russian Lawmaker's Son In U.S. Trial On Hacking Indictment

Roman Seleznyov (center) poses with his partner Anna Otisko and their daughter in Sochi (undated).
Roman Seleznyov (center) poses with his partner Anna Otisko and their daughter in Sochi (undated).

A Russian lawmaker's son who U.S. prosecutors say orchestrated a hacking scheme that resulted in about $170 million in fraudulent credit-card purchases goes on trial this week in the state of Washington.

Jury selection starts on August 15 in the federal trial of Roman Seleznyov.

Prosecutors say they will present evidence that he stole credit card information by hacking into the records of Washington pizza restaurants and other U.S. businesses.

Defense lawyers, for their part, contend that prosecutors have not drawn sufficient links between Seleznyov and the computer hacks that affected more than 200 businesses over several years.

They also say the U.S. Secret Service agents who arrested Seleznyov in the Maldives in 2014 mishandled his laptop and may have compromised evidence. Seleznyov was flown to Guam for an initial court appearance, and then to Seattle.

Seleznyov was initially indicted in 2011, but he suffered a brain injury in a terrorist bombing in a cafe in Morocco a month later. A previous lawyer said he was in a coma for two weeks.

His father, Valery Seleznev, is a member of the State Duma, Russia's lower parliament house, from flamboyant ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky's party.

Russia has contended that Seleznyov was kidnapped by U.S. authorities.

Based on reporting by AP and the Christian Science Monitor

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.