Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russian Man Sentenced In Treason Case Linked To FSB Cyberscandal

A Russian Internet businessman has been sentenced to seven years in prison for state treason, in a case linked to a major scandal at Russia's main security agency.

The sentence handed down against Georgy Fomchenkov on April 1 by the Moscow City Court is the latest development in a case that shed light on the murky overlap between computer hackers and the Federal Security Service (FSB).

Interfax and TASS quoted the court as saying that Fomchenkov cooperated with prosecutors in their investigation.

"The Moscow City Court found Fomchenkov guilty of a crime defined by Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code. He was sentenced to seven years in a high-security penal colony," court spokeswoman Ulyana Solopova said.​

Fomchenkov is one of four men prosecuted in connection with the investigation into the Center for Information Security, the cyberunit for the FSB.

A senior officer at the center, Colonel Sergei Mikhailov, was sentenced in February to 22 years in prison after a military tribunal found him guilty of state treason.

Ruslan Stoyanov, who previously worked for Russia's Interior Ministry and the Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, received a 14-year sentence.

A fourth man, Dmitry Dokuchayev, has pleaded guilty under a plea bargain deal with prosecutors and has not yet been sentenced.

Dokuchayev worked as a deputy to Mikhailov at the FSB cyberunit. Prior to that, he was well-known in Russian hacking circles.

Prosecutors accused Mikhailov and Stoyanov of passing classified information to U.S. and Western intelligence about Pavel Vrublevsky, a Russian businessman and convicted hacker known for running one of the world’s biggest spamming operations.

Russian press reports, citing unnamed officials, have alleged that Mikhailov was paid $10 million for information he handed over to foreign intelligence services.

Dockuchayev was also named in a 2017 U.S. Justice Department indictment related to the hack of hundreds of millions of Yahoo e-mail accounts.

Mikhailov was not named in those charges, though his role was identifiable from the details in the indictment.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax
  • 16x9 Image

    Mike Eckel

    Mike Eckel is a senior correspondent reporting on political and economic developments in Russia, Ukraine, and around the former Soviet Union, as well as news involving cybercrime and espionage. He's reported on the ground on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the wars in Chechnya and Georgia, and the 2004 Beslan hostage crisis, as well as the annexation of Crimea in 2014.