"Three Russian nationals - Balakovo resident Ivan Maksakov, Astrakhan resident Alexander Petrov and St. Petersburg resident Denis Stepanov - are charged with committing a number of computer crimes via the Internet, and of extorting money from several U.K. companies," public prosecutor Anton Pakhomov said.
Each of the three faced charges on 19 articles of the Russian Criminal Code, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Pakhomov said the hackers collected information about British web casinos and bookmakers' offices using spy software designed by 20-year-old Maksakov, and then demanded ransoms from the owners, threatening to disrupt their web servers if they did not comply.
"The web server of Canbet Sports Bookmakers Ltd, which refused to pay a $10,000 ransom demand, was blocked during the Breeders' Cup races, and the company lost more than $200,000 for each day of downtime," he said.
Investigators said the criminal group received more than $4 million from U.K. companies. The prosecutor said the group made 54 similar attacks in 30 countries for the six months they were active.
Maksakov and Stepanov were detained in September 2004 through the joint efforts of Britain's National High Tech Crime Unit, Interpol, the FBI and Russia's Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor General's Office. Petrov was arrested in mid-2005.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Removing Protesters’ Barricades in Kiev
Infographics: First Russian Smartphone
Some people are trying to make the reality in Russia at least a bit more humane. The amnesty should apply not only to persons involved in high-profile cases, but also to individuals who are not as well-known. It is better to set free at least some of the individuals who deserve to be released than no one at all.