Charges against Canadian arrested in Yahoo hack may be 'politically motivated': lawyer


Published on March 16, 2017

Karim Baratov is shown in a photo from his Instagram account. A lawyer for a Canadian man arrested as one of four suspects in a massive hack of Yahoo emails says the charges against his client may be "politically motivated by the U.S. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Instagram

A lawyer for a Canadian man arrested as one of four suspects in a massive hack of Yahoo emails says the charges against his client may be "politically motivated by the U.S."

Jag Virk says his client, 22-year-old Karim Baratov, maintains his innocence and has no prior criminal record.

In an emailed statement, the lawyer said people shouldn't be quick to judge and should wait for all facts to emerge in the case.

He did not indicate in what way political interests may have played a role in the arrest.

Toronto police say Baratov was arrested Tuesday in the Ontario community of Ancaster at the request of American authorities.

The U.S. Department of Justice says a grand jury in California has indicted Baratov and three others, two of them allegedly officers of the Russian Federal Security Service, for computer hacking, economic espionage and other criminal offences.

U.S. officials said Baratov also went by the names Kay, Karim Taloverov and Karim Akehmet Tokbergenov.

He was arrested under the extradition act, and appeared in court in Hamilton on Wednesday morning, court staff said. His case was put over until Friday afternoon, when he was expected to appear by video.

An acquaintance described Baratov as an exotic car buff who was popular and flashy but tight-lipped about his personal life — including his job, which involved working with computers.

Also indicted in the alleged conspiracy were Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev, 33, Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, 43, and Alexsey Alexseyevich (Magg) Belan, 29, all Russian nationals and residents. Dokuchaev and Sushchin are said to be Russian intelligence agents who allegedly masterminded and directed the hacking, the department said.

Dokuchaev and Sushchin allegedly tasked Baratov with hacking more than 80 accounts in exchange for commissions, according to U.S. authorities, who submitted a provisional arrest warrant to Canadian authorities March 7.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press