A federal magistrate judge on Friday ordered accused Russian hacker Roman Seleznev detained pending his trial on charges he operated a massive international scheme to steal and re-sell credit-card numbers.
Magistrate Judge James C. Donohue concluded that Seleznev posed a flight risk despite a promise to post a $1 million bond — secured by $100,000 cash — and an agreement to electronic monitoring and house arrest.
Seleznev, 30, is the son of a prominent member of the Russian Federation parliament and was arrested by U.S. Secret Service agents on July 5 while vacationing in the Maldives, a tiny chain of islands in the Indian Ocean. Assistant U.S. Attorney Norm Barbosa told the court Friday that Seleznev knew he was a wanted man and had avoided visiting countries that have an extradition treaty with the U.S. — the Maldives does not — but that authorities there were so concerned about his activities that they notified the U.S.
He was arrested at the airport on a warrant from a sealed indictment handed up by a Seattle grand jury in 2011, charging him with 29 counts of bank fraud, computer hacking and aggravated identity theft. He is also wanted in Nevada on money-laundering charges. He faces up to 20 years in prison on the Seattle indictment.
Russian authorities have protested his arrest. On Friday, Andrey Yushmanov, the consul general of the Russian Federation in Seattle, repeated charges that Seleznev was kidnapped and accused the U.S. of hiding its investigation into a Russian citizen.
The Seattle indictment alleges that Seleznev “created and operated infrastructure” used to skim credit-card information from point-of-sale terminals. The U.S. Secret Service considers him one of the most prolific hackers in the world, and alleges he operated servers in the U.S., Ukraine and Russia that compiled the stolen numbers and then hosted “criminal Internet forums” where the numbers were sold.