Yevgeny Nikulin claims he was offered a pleasant life in America if he pretended that he hacked the DNC
File this one under: What the hell is going on?
Russian national Yevgeniy Nikulin was arrested in October, 2015, by Czech authorities in cooperation with the FBI, and charged with stealing information from LinkedIn, Dropbox and other companies.
He's currently sitting in a prison cell in Prague, awaiting his fate.
The United States wants to extradite him—but so does Russia. The Russians want him for a relatively minor crime—the theft of $3,450 from a Moscow resident.
Earlier this week the Prague Municipal Court ruled that Nikulin could face extradition to either the US or Russia, but Nikulin has appealed the ruling because he really, really doesn't want to be sent to the United States.
Apparently the US government has plans for him:
Nikulin's defense lawyers have said the U.S. charges were based on one FBI agent, and suggested the U.S. was seeking him for political reasons — to use him as a pawn in the investigation into alleged Russian hacking in the U.S. election.
He claimed in the courtroom that he was twice approached by U.S. authorities — in November and in February — in the absence of his previous lawyer. He said they urged him to falsely testify that he was cooperating in the hacking attack on the Democratic National Committee ordered by Russian authorities. He said U.S. authorities would, in exchange, give him money and a life in the United States.
"I rejected doing it," Nikulin said.
Let's be honest: All parties involved have good reasons to lie about this case. Nikulin obviously doesn't want to be shipped to the US—regardless of the crimes he's been accused of—and we imagine he has nothing to lose by claiming that the extradition request is politically motivated.
But was he really offered a deal by the feds if he confessed to hacking the DNC? We wouldn't be surprised. And the FBI has a long track record of using these kind of tactics to tie up loose ends.
We guess the moral of this story is: The DNC hacking allegations have become so absurd that they've even found their way into the extradition case of a 29-year-old trapped in Prague.
The other moral of this story: Never cut deals with the FBI.
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