A Russian accused by the FBI of hacking into a number of US companies is a step closer to extradition from the Czech Republic.
A judge in Prague signed off on a tentative agreement to advance the extradition proceedings against Yevgeniy Nikulin, who has been held in solitary confinement in a high security prison in the capital.
The FBI believes Nikulin is the hacker behind massive password hacks in 2012 affecting LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring. But he also has been questioned about hacks into the servers of the Democratic National Committee that occurred around the same time, though he denied those charges.
Lawyers for Nikulin, a 29-year-old who drove a Lamborghini and hung out with the children of top Russian officials, deny that Nikulin is a hacker. In fact, they stated that their client was “useless with computers.” Instead, they said, he bought and sold luxury automobiles.
However, a 17-page FBI affidavit presents evidence against the accused, including a list of aliases, testimony from confidential sources, ISP records, and court-authorised electronic communications.
Some posit that the FBI's interest in Nikulin stems from their rounding up the usual suspects in hopes that he may spill some leads to their enquiry into Russia hacking of the US election.
Russian officials are attempting to extradite Nikulin back to Russia as well. Nikulin's lawyers said they would appeal against the US extradition request.