U.S wanted hacker can’t be extradited yet, says human rights court

  • 2014-07-24
  • From wire reports, RIGA

pic: delfi.lv

A Latvian man accused of allegedly hacking into thousands of computers to steal private bank details and wanted by the U.S. cannot be extradited to the country until a final court decision is made, The European Court of Human Rights. (ECHR) ruled today.

Deniss Calovskis, 29, wanted by the US, is suspected of allegedly infecting 40,000 computers in the U.S. with the Gozi virus, stealing bank details.

Now, the ECHR, the court has also ordered Latvia pay Calovskis 5,000 euros in compensation for violations committed during his detention.

As LETA was informed by the Cabinet of Ministers' expert in international human rights institutions Kristine Lice, the ECHR also ruled that no violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights was in regard to the granting of Calovskis’ extradition to the United States.

''Calovkis can be extradited, but since this judgment has not come into force, the court has ruled that the government cannot make any further decision on this matter until the ruling has come into force,'' Lice explained.

Lice emphasized that Latvia will decide on what further action will be taken on this matter.

In August 2013, the Latvian government decided  to extradite Calovskis to the U.S. However his attorneys turned to the ECHR, claiming that the extradition be put on hold until Calovskis' case is reviewed by court, and the ECHR halted the extradition process.

U.S. law enforcement institutions have brought charges against three alleged cyber criminals accused of stealing banking information from computers across Europe and the United States, including Calovskis.

The alleged criminals were responsible for creating and distributing a computer virus that infected over one million computers - at least 40,000 of which were in the United States-  causing millions in losses by stealing online banking credentials.

The defendants allegedly used a malicious computer code or malware dubbed the Gozi Virus to hack into bank accounts and "steal millions of dollars," stated the indictment against Calovskis, also known as "Miami", who was originally arrested in Latvia.

Prosecutors say the scam unfolded between 2005 and March 2012 and that the virus was "virtually undetectable in the computers it infected." First, it was implanted in computers across Europe "on a vast scale," then around 2010 it spread to the United States, the Calovskis indictment said.

 Attorney Saulvedis Varpins, representing Calovskis, previously said that his client continues to categorically deny his involvement in the criminal group which used the ''Gozi Virus'' to access computer systems and steal personal banking information.

Varpins told LETA previously that Calovskis has never admitted that he deliberately created or improved such a computer virus for such aims, and has not received any kind of payment for his services. ''Furthermore, we have not seen any kind of evidence confirming the U.S. point of view that Calovskis was involved with some sort of cyber-crime ring,'' Varpins said.