Israel Extradites Suspected Russian Hacker to U.S.

Aleksei Burkov, a 29-year-old Russian suspected of hacking-related crimes, has made his first public appearance in a U.S. federal court on Tuesday since being extradited from Israel earlier this week, Haaretz reported.

Burkov’s lawyer said the man was extradited overnight and appeared in the Eastern Court of Virginia to face allegations that he stole more than $20 million from U.S. consumers via the sale of credit card information, identity theft, and money laundering, according to the indictment. 

Burkov, who says he is cyber security specialist, is accused of running a website called Cardplanet that sold debit and credit card numbers, many of which were stolen through computer intrusions from U.S. citizens, the Department of Justice said. He was arrested in December 2015 while leaving Israel.

Burkov is at least the 12th alleged Russian hacker to have been extradited to the United States in recent years from third countries.

Last month, Israeli Justice Minister Amir Ohana signed an extradition order to the United States for the suspect. On November 10, the Supreme Court of Israel rejected Burkov’s appeal amid Russia’s protests.

The Russian Embassy in the United States condemned his extradition in a statement posted on social media on Wednesday.

“Decisive (protest) action has been undertaken with regards to Washington unleashing a hunt for our citizens across the world,” the embassy said. “In a (protest) note sent to the State Department we have demanded that the American side strictly observe its current bilateral obligations.”

Russia had proposed to exchange Burkov for a U.S.-Israeli national Naama Issachar, who was sentenced to 7 years in prison in Moscow last month for possession of marijuana.

A potential pardon for Issachar, 26, was reportedly discussed last month when Russian President Vladimir Putin called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his 70th birthday. Born in New Jersey, Issachar was arrested in April after police found nine grams of cannabis in her luggage during a layover at a Moscow airport.