Son of Russian MP on trial accused over $170m fraud

The son of a Russian MP is due to go on trial in the US accused of orchestrating an international scheme that resulted in around $170 million (€152m) in fraudulent credit card purchases.

In a federal jury trial that begins this week, prosecutors plan to lay out evidence that they say will prove Roman Seleznev hacked into US businesses, mostly pizza restaurants in Washington state, and stole credit card information. They claim he made millions by selling that data on underground internet forums.

Seleznev’s lawyers plan to argue that prosecutors have failed to adequately connect him with the hacks that hit more than 200 businesses over several years.

They have also said the US Secret Service agents who arrested Seleznev mishandled his laptop, which may have compromised some evidence.

Seleznev faces a 40-count indictment charging him with running a hacking scheme from 2008 until his arrest in July 2014.

Steve Bussing, owner of Red Pepper Pizza in Duvall, north-east of Seattle, said that he and his wife had to spend around $10,000 installing a new computer system after they learned theirs was compromised by a hacker.

Mr Bussing, along with owners and managers from Mad Pizza, ZPizza, Grand Central Bakery, Village Pizza, and Casa Mia, were included on the prosecutor’s witness list.

Secret Service agents captured Seleznev as he and his girlfriend arrived at an airport in the Maldives on their way back to Russia.

The agents flew him by private jet to Guam, where he he first appeared in court, and then to Seattle, where he is in federal custody.

His father, Valery Seleznev, is a Russian MP.

Jury selection begins today, and the trial is expected to run for more than two weeks.


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