Alleged Russian computer hacker detained by FBI in Spain


Russian computer programmer Pyotr Levashov has been arrested in Barcelona, according to a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Madrid.

Russian cyber spam kingpin Levashov, 36, was suspected by the FBI of being involved in the alleged hacking of last year’s U.S. presidential election, as reported by Russian television station RT.

His wife Maria Levashova told the reporters that her husband was detained on a U.S. arrest warrant after police smashed into an apartment the couple shared with their four-year-old son in Barcelona.

She recalled that she awoke to someone pulling on the door handle and thought they were “gangsters” because “they closed the spy hole in the door” and she feared that they were going to break the door in and murder her family.

She claimed that police handcuffed him and seized all electronic devices from their apartment. “They were saying something about a virus allegedly created by my husband – and that it was linked to Trump’s victory,” she said. “They did not allow us to call a lawyer.”

As their young child looked on, the couple was ordered onto the floor. Afterward, she was separated from her husband in another room for more than two hours and was not allowed to speak to him.

“They did not answer my questions, they locked me with my child and a friend into one room. They kept us there for two hours and did not let me talk to my husband.”

Maria maintains that her husband “does not have enough knowledge to intervene in elections or computer networks of other countries.”

She added, “I am just in shock and I don’t know what to do. I only understand that if my husband is extradited to the USA, my son and I will never see him again. They will fake all they want and will never let him out.”

According to the Daily Mail, cyber security experts believe that Levashov is also the real identity of Peter Severa, the architect of malware used in high profile spam attacks including an online attack waged against a Russian enemy during the Russias 2012 election.

Maria was finally allowed to see her husband in jail. “They showed him some strange papers with his name on them, some documents from America. He does not understand why him. There are many people with the same name as him.”

Alexander Ionov, vice president of the Russian department of the International Human Rights Committee told reporters: “The wife of Pyotr Levashov called me and according to her no legal documents were presented by the police,” he said. ‘They only said that he was suspected of cyber attacks on U.S. governmental websites.” Ionov added, “The confiscation took place without official witnesses. This may lead to free access to them and adding of various harmful files.”

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal division, said: “The U.S. case remains under seal, so we have no information to provide at this time.”

Levashov is scheduled to appear in court on Monday in Madrid.

H/T: Reuters, Daily Mail

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