The future prospects of a 19-year-old Cypriot hacker are still unknown, as the FBI is seeking extradition to the US in connection with wire fraud and his lawyers are fighting to keep him in local courts.
(Click here for an update to the story)
The suspect, with initials J.E. and described as a hacker of Cypriot nationality, is being held in jail for a year awaiting trial in September on charges of being involved in a May 2017 network attack against Cablenet, a private telecommunications service provider in Cyprus.
But the FBI also wants the late teen to face American justice for wire fraud they say he committed against a number of US companies between 2014 and 2016.
The cards are stacked against the defence team, as the US is now more actively pursuing and prosecuting cyber crime suspects abroad
The attorney for the hacker has been fighting the extradition request, which became convoluted on technicalities ever since his client’s release bail was suddenly dropped from €50,000 to €1000 bail.
But FBI had been keeping an eye on the Cablenet case and the teen never actually got to walk free, as an FBI warrant had gone into effect and he was once again placed into custody.
The Cypriot charges are conspiracy to commit a crime, unlawful access to a computer, unlawful access to a systems network, illegal interference with a systems network, illegal data tampering, unlawful wired interception of data, and computer fraud. Most charges relate to the Cablenet case while another company in Limassol was also named in a second case.
The FBI says he the teen is facing similar charges in the US but sources say they hope 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.
His lawyer has sought permission from the attorney general to allow the US case against his client to be tried in Nicosia, while no response has been given.
But the cards are stacked against the defence team, as the US has for many years now been more actively pursuing and prosecuting cyber crime suspects abroad.
Frequently there are many Russians who are being accused of money laundering and cyber attacks, with Russian authorities typically responding by issuing thier own warrants against the suspects.
A tug-of-war situation has played out in Holland, the Czech Republic, and more recently in Greece where both USA and Russia were seeking the extradition of 38-year-old Alexander Vinnik, also known as Mr. Bitcoin, who reportedly confessed to computer hacking crimes.
Knews understands that the teen’s name was included in a high achievers list at a private high school in Nicosia, where he dropped out in order to help financially his single mother, a naturalized Cypriot citizen.
The hacker’s online handle reportedly was “charySQX” while he also used the alias “Yiogros Petrou”.