Tue, 12 Dec 2023

BOSTON, Massachusetts: Russian businessman Vladislav Klyushin, who has ties to the Kremlin, has been accused of making tens of millions of dollars trading secret financial information obtained by hackers about numerous American companies.

Assistant US Attorney Stephen Frank told a federal jury in Boston that Klyushin, 42, and his associates, made nearly $90 million trading stocks based on yet-to-be-announced information about hundreds of publicly-traded companies. The information had been stolen by hackers, according to Frank.

"The defendant had tomorrow's news and tomorrow's headlines today, and he exploited it for tens of millions of dollars in profits," charged Frank.

Klyushin, whose technology company M-13 has connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin's government, personally turned a $2 million investment into $21 million, trading on illegal information and brought other investors into the scheme, Frank added.

The hackers who obtained the information include Ivan Ermakov, who is wanted in the US on separate charges over his alleged involvement in schemes that interfered with the 2016 US presidential election, prosecutors said.

Klyushin has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, unauthorized access to computers, and securities fraud. His lawyer, Maksim Nemtsev, said that the prosecution's case was built on "gaping holes and inferences."

"There is nothing illegal about being Russian, about having wealth, about having an IT technology company that contracts with the government," Nemtsev told the jury.

The three-week trial predates Moscow's invasion of Ukraine and the current low point in US-Russia relations, but US authorities have long been interested in Klyushin's connections to the Kremlin.

In March 2021, Klyushin was arrested in Switzerland during a skiing holiday and later extradited to the US. His Swiss lawyer, Oliver Ciric, has said that before his arrest, US and British intelligence agencies attempted to recruit Klyushin.

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