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Finland extradites Russian hacking suspect to US

US authorities are to escort Maxim Senakh out of Finland within a month. They suspect him of stealing millions of dollars from infected computer servers in the US, Finland and elsewhere.

Oikeusministeriön kyltti Helsingissä.
A Justice Ministry official says the decision cannot be appealed. Image: Yle

Finland's Ministry of Justice has decided to hand over suspected Russian hacker Maxim Senakh to the United States for trial.

Senakh was detained in August at the request of American officials, who have a Minnesota warrant for his arrest. He's accused of infecting computer servers with malware, resulting in millions of dollars' worth of criminal gains.

He was crossing from Finland into Russia when he was taken into custody. Senakh fought his extradition in the Finnish courts.

"The Supreme Court has studied the conditions for extradition and not found any obstacle to it," Ministerial Counsellor Juhani Korhonen told Yle. The extradition decision cannot be appealed.

Russia declared his detention illegal, but did not request his repatriation. According to Korhonen, Moscow did not have judicial grounds for demanding he be sent back to Russia.

"Extradition requires that a person has either been convicted of a crime in Russia or has been ordered to be arrested on suspicion of a crime," explains Korhonen.

No grounds for appeal

"We believe this is a politically-motivated decision based on the extradition treaty between Finland and the United States," his lawyer Igor Khitrukhin told TASS on Friday. "There are no grounds for appealing against the decision. But now I'll visit him, if my client decides, we will try to challenge this decision in the European Court of Human Rights. It was taken on January 5, but we were informed about it only today," Khitrukhin added. Wednesday was a national holiday in Finland.

Senakh is suspected of using malware called Ebury to break into thousands of servers located in the US, Finland and elsewhere and then obtaining millions of dollars from the infected servers.

US authorities are to escort Senakh out of Finland within a month.

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