Putin ally reassured son, a prisoner in the U.S., that things "will get better, I am sure about that"

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Putin ally reassured son, a prisoner in the U.S., that things "will get better, I am sure about that" Empty Putin ally reassured son, a prisoner in the U.S., that things "will get better, I am sure about that"

Post by Ben Reilly on Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:58 pm

The Federal Detention Center near Seattle is home to 563 men and women who are all waiting for something. Some are accused criminals approaching trial, others are immigrants facing deportation, a few are serving a sentence and waiting for their release date to arrive. For the last year, Russian hacker Roman Seleznev has been waiting for Donald Trump.

Seleznev, 32, was once among the United States’ most-wanted computer criminals, sought for stealing credit-card numbers from restaurant point-of-sale systems and selling them in underground internet forums for millions. Then in July 2014 he made the mistake of leaving his native Russia for a resort vacation in the Maldives. U.S. officials persuaded local police to pick up Seleznev and turn him over to Secret Service agents, who hustled him onto a private jet, then onward to the U.S. Pacific island of Guam for easy extradition to Seattle.

In some ways, Seleznev’s rendition was not extraordinary. Russia has no extradition treaty with America, so U.S. cops have learned to indict Russian nationals in secret, then seek their arrest when they travel abroad. That’s what happened in January when police in Barcelona arrested 32-year-old Stanislav Lisov, wanted for allegedly looting U.S. bank accounts. And in October, Czech police picked up Russian national Yevgeny Nikulin in Prague on allegations he hacked DropBox and LinkedIn. Both men are fighting extradition to the U.S.

Seleznev, though, is not just another Russian hacker. His father is Valery Seleznev, an outspoken member of the Russian parliament in the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, and a political ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The arrest immediately put added strain on U.S.-Russian relations already tested by Putin’s annexation of Crimea and the U.S.-led sanctions that followed. Russia’s foreign ministry held a press conference lashing out at the “kidnapping,” while the senior Seleznev insisted his son was no hacker, telling a Russian news agency, “This is some monstrous lie and provocation.”

Adjudicating Seleznev’s cases has been slow going for the U.S. In the last year alone the hacker has twice fired his lawyers, winning months-long postponements in his court dates each time. In April, frustrated prosecutors accused Seleznev of using delay tactics to try and put off the proceedings until after the 2016 election. “Defendant’s false and naïve belief that U.S. politics have any bearing on his case has been a constant theme in his conversations with his father.”

Prosecutors traced Seleznev’s election insights to a cryptic Dec. 15, 2015, phone call between the hacker and his father. On that day, Roman called Valery in Moscow to break the news that he’d lost a key motion attacking the lawfulness of his arrest. The senior Seleznev told him to keep his chin up, according to a translation by the Bureau of Prisons.
Valery: “You can be mad, but don’t go wild with rage.”

Roman: “No, I mean I need to keep going to go to the trial. I will keep going.”

Valery: “Absolutely.”

Roman: “Yes.”

Valery: “Besides, the relationships between the countries can improve. You know what I mean?”

Roman: “That’s what I am hoping for.”

Valery: “Well, they will get better, I am sure about that.”

Roman: “Well, some day they will get better for sure.” [Giggles]

Valery: “No, I think that they are already better.”

Roman: “Really?”

Valery: “Uh-huh.”

Roman: “OK, OK.”

Valery: “Yes.”

It’s unclear what inside information, if any, Valery Seleznev possessed on Dec. 15, 2015. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Moscow that day for preliminary meetings on the Syria crisis, which might have given the Russian lawmaker hope for better U.S. relations.


And I crawled out the window with my shadow in a spoon
Dancing on the roof shooting holes in the moon

- Beck
Ben Reilly
Ben Reilly
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