A young hacker will be the first Cypriot national to be extradited to the United States and could face up to 20 years in prison after losing his appeal last week
The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal filed by 19-year-old Joshua Epiphaniou, who was fighting his extradition to the US where he is expected to face multiple charges of wire fraud.
Epiphaniou, a Cypriot national of Filipino descent, was reportedly reluctant initially to file an appeal against his extradition, after a district court had rejected arguments from his lawyer, Michael Chambers, who argued the teen had Asperger’s syndrome and was legally a minor at the time he had committed the offences while sitting at his home computer.
Media sources reported the FBI hoped to use the Cypriot teen’s case to catch bigger fish
Epiphaniou was initially accused of being involved in a May 2017 network attack against Cablenet, a private telecommunications service provider in Cyprus.
He was later suspected of being involved in overseas hacking and was wanted by the FBI in connection with wire fraud cases involving attacks on US companies between 2014 and 2016 in the states of Georgia and Arizona.
The young man is alleged to have taken part in a global criminal network which carried out money extortion schemes online. He is facing several charges including wire and computer fraud, identity theft and extortion, according to legal documents.
Supreme Court Judge Stelios Nathanael rejected the appeal last Thursday, which was made on grounds of unlawful detention according to media sources. Epiphaniou had spent about a year in jail awaiting trial when he was released on bail and immediately re-arrested on an FBI-based international warrant.
Epiphaniou, a gifted student with excellent computer skills, had dropped out of high school to help his mother, a naturalised citizen from the Philippines who was facing economy hardships. He was also involved in a long and protracted court battle where his father, a Cypriot national, had denied paternity until a DNA test was ordered by a judge and proved he was the biological father.
Media sources reported that the FBI hopes to use the teen’s case to catch bigger fish, as he is suspected to have had connections with other hackers on a global level.