MOSCOW – A Russian hacker, sentenced in June 2020 to nine years in a U.S. jail for cyber crimes, was detained at a Moscow airport on Tuesday after being deported by the United States, the TASS news agency quoted Russia’s Interior Ministry as saying.
Alexei Burkov was jailed by the United States for operating two websites devoted to the facilitation of payment card fraud, computer hacking, and other crimes, the U.S. Department of Justice said when he was sentenced.
The U.S. embassy in Moscow did not immediately comment on the report that Burkov had been deported. Such prisoner returns are rare as Russia and the United States do not have an extradition treaty.
Burkov was arrested in Israel in December 2015 and extradited to the United States in November 2019. In January 2020, he pleaded guilty to various charges including fraud, identity theft, computer intrusions and money laundering.
Burkov’s family had been hoping Israel would free him as part of a potential prisoner swap involving a U.S.-Israeli woman jailed in October 2019 in Russia for drug offences.
Police detained Burkov at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, TASS cited Interior Ministry spokesperson Irina Volk as saying.
Burkov had been charged in absentia by Russia, which sought his arrest through Interpol, she said.
Burkov’s schemes involved stealing and selling credit card data, much of which belonged to U.S. citizens, and running a separate cybercrime forum where members could advertise stolen goods and offer criminal services, including money laundering and hacking, the Department of Justice said.