Indicted Russian's family claim his innocence
MOSCOW — Family members of a Russian man charged with hacking in the United States insist he is innocent and fear incarceration will kill him.
Roman Seleznev, son of a prominent Russian lawmaker, was arrested on bank fraud and other charges earlier this week. U.S. authorities allege that he hacked into computers at hundreds of retail businesses including the Phoenix Zoo.
Seleznev's father, Valery, told a televised news conference on Friday that his son, who was left brain-damaged after a 2011 bombing in Marrakech, will die without his medication.
"There are no medical services there at all, treatment is not available," Seleznev said. When asked how his son is going to manage without prescription drugs the lawmaker said: "He will die."
Seleznev's father said a lawyer has spoken to his son and that he is "in good spirits."
According to an indictment unsealed Monday, Seleznev, known by the underground name "Track2," carried out a scheme to hack into retailers' computers, install malicious software and steal credit card numbers from 2009 to 2011.
He is accused of marketing and selling those stolen credit card numbers on "criminally inspired websites" and using servers in Virginia, Russia, Ukraine and other parts of the world to help carry out the scheme.
Seleznev's girlfriend, Anna Otisko, said she was with him when he was grabbed by unknown men at the airport in the Maldives and put on the plane out of the country.
The Russian foreign ministry has accused Washington of kidnapping the man. U.S. officials have declined to say how or where he was apprehended.
The man's relatives insist that Seleznev was arrested because of a "horrendous mistake" and was neither mentally nor physically able to engage in the intricate hacking schemes. The charges, however, date back to the time before he was injured.