Roman Valerevich Seleznev, a Russian national accused by United States authorities of operating several carding forums and hacking into point of sale (PoS) systems in an effort to steal payment card information, has been denied bail, the Department of Justice announced on Friday.
The 30-year-old man's attorneys requested that their client be placed on house arrest in an apartment in Seattle with electronic monitoring and no access to computers. They proposed a $1 million bond secured by $100,000 in cash. However, the judge rejected the proposal because the suspect has no ties to the Western District of Washington, he is a frequent international traveler, he has large amounts of money in bank accounts around the world, and he possesses the skills necessary to create false documents.
At the hearing, prosecutors revealed that they had found 2.1 million stolen credit card numbers on the laptop Seleznev had on him when he was arrested in the Maldives in July. Furthermore, investigators found evidence that the Russian searched his name and online monikers in the electronic filing system for the U.S federal courts to see if they showed up in any cases.
"Today was another important step in ensuring the charges against this defendant are tried in this community," stated U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. "The defendant is entitled to every protection offered by our system, but will be afforded no special privileges. Our investigation into the scope of defendant's actions is ongoing."
Seleznev, known on the cybercrime scene as "Track 2," was indicted in March 2011 by a federal grand jury in the Western District of Washington, but the indictment was unsealed only after his arrest. According to investigators, between October 2009 and February 2011, the suspect used malware to steal payment card information from PoS systems. He allegedly also created and operated the infrastructure needed to host forums specializing in the commercialization of stolen financial data.
He has been charged with 29 counts, including bank fraud, intentionally causing damage to a protected computer, obtaining information from a protected computer without authorization, possession with intent to defraud of 15 or more stolen credit card numbers, trafficking in stolen credit card numbers and aggravated identity theft.
The suspect is also named along with 54 other individuals in a separate racketeering case in Nevada targeting the members of the notorious carding website Carder.su. The man is said to have operated one of the websites that sold stolen payment card information to Carder.su members.
The case has been highly controversial because the suspect is the son of the prominent Russian lawmaker Valery Seleznev. Shortly after Seleznev's arrest, Moscow accused Washington of abducting a Russian national, and pointed out that this is another case in which the U.S. ignored the bilateral 1999 treaty on mutual legal assistance.
Valery Seleznev told the press that his son requires regular medical treatment after suffering brain damage in a bomb attack in Morocco in 2011.
Meanwhile, authorities in the Maldives responded to accusations by Russia that they had allowed the Unites States to abduct the alleged hacker. They clarified that they acted on an Interpol arrest warrant.