Russian Tied to $82M Hacking Scheme in U.S. Deemed Flight Risk, Denied Bail

Vladislav Klyushin, a Russian tied to an $82 million hacking scheme in the U.S., was deemed a flight risk and denied bail Wednesday.

Prosecutor Seth Kosto said Klyushin, 41, is a flight risk, as Russia has no extradition agreement with the U.S. and Klyushin never consented to extradition, along with other reasons.

Klyushin allegedly took part in a scheme, along with five other Russians, to steal information on computer networks to use for insider trading, illegally netting $82 million from 2018 to 2020, federal authorities said. He works for an information company with connections to the upper levels of the Russian government and is also a millionaire.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler in Boston sided with the prosecution, saying Klyushin "presents a substantial risk of flight."

Bowler also appeared suspicious of several letters from Klyushin's wife and friends supporting him. She said there was no way to contact the writers and that the letters all began similarly. "Therefore I do not give heavy weight to them," she said.

Maksim Nemtsev, Klyushin's attorney, had requested his client's release with conditions, such as a $2.5 million bond and home detention in a one-bedroom unit located in Boston's seaport district with electronic monitoring.

According to court documents, Nemtsev had said that Klyushin "intends to challenge the government's case in a lawful, professional and principled manner."

The Associated Press left Nemtsev an email asking for comment after the hearing.

Vladislav Klyushin, Insider Trading, Hearing, Bail Denied
U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler in Boston sided with the prosecution, saying Vladislav Klyushin “presents a substantial risk of flight." A picture taken on Oct. 17, 2016, shows an employee typing on a computer keyboard at the headquarters of Internet security giant Kaspersky in Moscow. Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

Klyushin, who appeared at Wednesday's hearing via video, pleaded not guilty to conspiring to obtain unauthorized access to computers, and to commit wire fraud and securities fraud; aiding and abetting wire fraud; aiding and abetting unauthorized access to computers; and aiding and abetting securities fraud. If convicted of all charges he faces a maximum of 50 years in prison.

Klyushin, a married father of five whose last name is sometimes spelled Kliushin, was arrested in Sion, Switzerland, on March 21 just after he arrived on a private jet and before he and his party were about to board a private helicopter to whisk them to a nearby ski resort, according to court documents.

He fought extradition to the U.S., that included at least two appeals of the Swiss Ministry of Justice's decision ordering his extradition, including one that went to Switzerland's highest court, prosecutors said.

He was finally extradited to the U.S. on Dec. 18.

In court documents, U.S. prosecutors say Klyushin has close ties to Ivan Ermakov, a former officer in the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate, known as the GRU, who was previously charged in July 2018 for his alleged role in a Russian effort to meddle in the 2016 U.S. elections, prosecutors said.

Klyushin, Ermakov and a third defendant worked at M-13, a Moscow-based information technology company that purported to provide services to detect vulnerabilities in computer systems, and counted among its clients the administration of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin and other government entities, U.S. prosecutors said.

Klyushin was listed as the company's first deputy general director and Ermakov was listed as a deputy general director, according to an FBI affidavit in the case.

U.S. prosecutors have not said whether they think Klyushin was involved in the election interference.

Klyushin's next court appearance is Feb. 8.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.