Switzerland Extradites Jailed Kremlin Technology Adviser to U.S.

 

December 19, 2021

 


Swiss courts rejected multiple appeals to free Russian IT specialist Vladislav Klyushin. Photo: Reuters

 

By Tony Czuczka | Bloomberg

 

ZURICH – Switzerland said it extradited a Russian IT specialist with Kremlin ties to the U.S., where he faces charges of insider trading.

Swiss courts rejected multiple appeals to free Vladislav Klyushin, who worked with the Kremlin and Russian government ministries. He was detained in March on a request by U.S. federal prosecutors after stepping off a private jet at Sion, Switzerland, on his way to a skiing holiday with his family.

On Saturday, U.S. agents took Klyushin into custody at Zurich airport for a flight to the U.S., the Swiss Justice Department said in a statement. Prosecutors in Massachusetts allege that Klyushin conducted insider trading involving tens of millions of dollars with several accomplices, according to the department.

Klyushin’s lawyer, Oliver Ciric, has said his client views the U.S. allegations as a politically motivated pretext for extradition. Klyushin’s work on IT solutions for the Russian governments means he has information of interest to U.S. intelligence, Ciric has alleged.

Records of Russian state contracts show Klyushin’s M13 company provided a media-monitoring system called Katyusha to the Defense Ministry. It also provided services to the National Guard, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Justice Ministry and Moscow city government.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Vedomosti newspaper in 2016 that the presidential administration had begun using the Katyusha service to monitor social media.

Klyushin has a wealth of information about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, two people familiar with the matter have told Bloomberg.

One of Klyushin’s senior employees, Ivan Yermakov, was among the 12 alleged GRU operatives charged in the U.S. over the election hacking, and he is also a co-defendant in the insider-trading case against Klyushin, according to U.S. judicial documents reviewed by Bloomberg.

— With assistance by Henry Meyer