SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A Russian citizen accused of hacking into records of three Internet technology companies appeared in shackles in federal court in San Francisco Wednesday and agreed to remain in custody for the time being.
Yevgeniy Nikulin, 30, of Moscow, waived his right at Wednesday’s session before U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth Laporte to have a hearing on whether he should be detained in custody while awaiting trial.
Laporte set a court date for Nikulin to appear on April 17 for a status conference before U.S. District Judge William Alsup, the trial judge assigned to the case.
Nikulin was charged by a federal grand jury in San Francisco in a nine-count indictment in 2016 with breaking into the computers of LinkedIn, Dropbox and a now-defunct social question-and-answer company called Formspring in 2012.
He was arrested in the Czech Republic in 2016 on a U.S. request transmitted by the Interpol international police organization and was extradited to the U.S. last week after lengthy proceedings.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Abraham Simmons said Nikulin’s defense attorney today requested removal of the shackles placed on him by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Laporte instructed defense and prosecution lawyers to submit briefs during the next two days on whether their filings concerning the request should be submitted under seal, Simmons said.
The indictment charges Nikulin with three counts of computer intrusion for the purpose of gaining information worth more than $5,000 from each of professional networking company LinkedIn Corp. of Mountain View; file storage firm Dropbox Inc. of San Francisco; and Formspring of San Francisco in 2012.
In the case of Formspring, Nikulin additionally faces two counts of conspiring with three unidentified co-conspirators to sell stolen user names, emails and passwords for 5,500 euros, and selling the stolen information for more than $1,000 between June 2012 and May 2013. The indictment does not identify the buyer.
Nikulin is also charged with two counts of aggravated identity theft of employees of LinkedIn and Formspring and two counts of using those identities to send unauthorized commands causing at least $5,000 in damage.
In a statement last week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Nikulin “is accused of breaking into the computer system of several important American companies using stolen identities, and potentially gaining access to the personal information of millions of Americans.”
“This is deeply troubling behavior once again emanating from Russia,” Sessions said.
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