The USA and Russia have always enjoyed an uneasy truce. But the recent arrest of a Russian politician’s son in the Maldives on the accusation of cyber-crime has threatened to completely disrupt relations between the two countries (well, almost as much as what Hillary did and her incompetence).
30 year old Roman Seleznyov, who is the son of Russian Liberal Democartic Party member Valery Seleznyov, was arrested by US Secret Service agents for hacking into point-of-sale terminals in the US. Russia has termed the arrest a “de facto kidnapping” and accused the US of breaking a mutual legal assistance agreement signed in 1999.
Detention in Male
The Russian news agency ITAR-TASS ran reports quoting the Foreign Ministry’s description of the arrest. According to these reports, Roman Seleznyov was detained on the morning of July 5th at the Male International Airport in the Maldives. On the same day, he was handed over to American agents and flown in a private jet to Guam. America has not denied these reports.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has also drawn parallels between Seleznyov’s arrest and that of arms trafficker Viktor Bout who was arrested in Thailand and tried in the US. Despite the best efforts of Viktor’s criminal defense lawyers, he is now serving time in a federal prison in America and Russia is aware that the same fate could befall Seleznyov if he too is found guilty.
Oh well. Stop being a criminal country Russia!
Valery Seleznyov, the Russian Liberal Democrat, has said that the arrest of his son has more to do with international geopolitics than actual crime. He has been quoted as saying that he expects America to ransom his son or try to exchange him for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden or someone else of his ilk who is currently detained in Russia. Russian government officials have also been quick to scrutinize the role of the Maldives’ government saying that the stance that the authorities in Male have taken is nothing short of outrageous, and they have blatantly flouted the existing international legislations by allowing the arrest to happen on their soil.
No Less than 20 Years for Selznyov
Roman Selznyov, who used the virtual nickname Track2, has been accused of bank fraud, identity theft, accessing protected information without authority, and trafficking in unauthorized access devices. All these charges have been denied by Roman’s father who says that his son does not even possess the necessary computer skills required to carry out such tasks.
Cyber Crime Penalties in America
The Department of Homeland Security in America takes cyber-crime very severely. When Albert Gonzalez was handed down a 20 year prison sentence in 2010 for credit card heists it was the most severe punishment given to a cyber-criminal in the US and set a precedent for other criminal defense lawyers in the country.
Following that, the DHS and the Congress have left no stone unturned in ensuring that cyber-crime laws get stricter and the penalties associated with it get harsher. Criminal defense lawyers say that while computer hacking is a class B demeanor in the US and can land a person for up to 27 months in jail, all the other charges that Roman Seleznyov is accused of carry long term prison sentences of 15-20 years or more.