HAMILTON, Ontario >> A Canadian man accused in a massive hack of Yahoo emails agreed today to forgo his extradition hearing and face charges in the United States.
Karim Baratov was arrested in Hamilton, Ontario, in March under the Extradition Act after U.S. authorities indicted him and three others, including two alleged officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service. They are accused of computer hacking, economic espionage and other crimes.
An extradition hearing for the 22-year-old Baratov had been scheduled for early September, but he signed documents before a Canadian judge today agreeing to waive it.
His lawyer, Amedeo DiCarlo, said that does not amount to an admission of guilt.
DiCarlo said the move will accelerate the legal process and was the best way to speed up discussions with the U.S. prosecutor. U.S. marshals will soon be sent to fetch Baratov and take him to California, he added.
U.S. law enforcement officials call Baratov a “hacker-for-hire” paid by members of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, considered the successor to the KGB of the former Soviet Union. He has Kazakh origins, arrived in Canada in 2007 and became a citizen in 2011.
Alexsey Belan, one of the other suspects, is on the FBI’s list of most wanted cybercriminals and has been indicted multiple times in the United States. It’s not clear whether he or the other two defendants, Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, will ever step foot in an American courtroom because the United States does not have an extradition treaty with Russia.
The indictment identifies Dokuchaev and Sushchin as officers of the FSB. Belan and Baratov were allegedly directed by the FSB to hack into the accounts.