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Bail hearing underway for Hamilton man accused in massive Yahoo email hack

HAMILTON — A Canadian man accused in a massive hack of Yahoo emails told an Ontario court on Wednesday that he had a business that protected websites from cyberattacks.


April 5, 2017
By The Canadian Press

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Karim Baratov was testifying at his bail hearing in Hamilton, and said he earned about $90,000 from his business in its first year, but earned less in later years.

The 22-year-old, who was born in Kazakhstan, was arrested under the Extradition Act last month.

U.S. authorities say Baratov and three others — two of them allegedly officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service — were indicted for computer hacking, economic espionage and other crimes.

American authorities have warned in documents filed with the court that Baratov poses an “extremely high flight risk,” in part due to his alleged ties to Russian intelligence agents and the money he appeared to have.

“He possesses the skills and financial resources to flee justice,” the documents say, noting that Baratov did not appear to have any “legitimate employment.”

Baratov’s legal team is arguing that he should be released on bail as he awaits his extradition hearing, during which time he would stay with his parents.

Amedeo DiCarlo, one of Baratov’s lawyers, has called the allegations against his client unfounded.

“There’s no way he’s going to flee,” DiCarlo said outside court before Baratov’s bail hearing began.

During the bail hearing, which was not subject to a typical publication ban, Crown attorney Heather Graham said that at the time of Baratov’s arrest, police found more than $30,000 in his home.

Baratov told the court that he was keeping the money as savings.

“(It was) from withdrawing money from the bank, and casinos,” he said after Graham asked where the money came from.

Baratov told the court he started a company in 2014, earning money by hosting webspace for small businesses and protecting websites from hackers.

Baratov also said he owned the house where he was arrested, which he told court he bought when he was 20 years old. He said he and his parents split the downpayment on the home, each paying half.

He said he put about $65,000 down on the house personally, which he earned by selling one of his luxury cars.

He said he was making mortgage payments and paying for utilities and house upkeep out of the bank account he used for his business. The house was sold shortly after his arrest, and Baratov said he earned about $260,000 from the sale after fees.

The three other suspects indicted along with Baratov in the case are Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev, 33, Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, 43, and Alexsey Alexseyevich (Magg) Belan, 29, all Russian nationals and residents. It’s not clear whether they will ever step foot in an American courtroom since there’s no extradition treaty with Russia.

Dokuchaev and Sushchin are said to be Russian intelligence agents who allegedly masterminded and directed the hacking, the U.S. Justice Department has said.

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

– Nicole Thompson

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2017