CYBERCRIME

Russian programmer arrested in Barcelona after US issues warrant

No official motive given by embassy, but suspect is reportedly a known spammer with alleged Kremlin ties

Specialized computer crimes officers.
Specialized computer crimes officers.JULIÁN ROJAS

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A Russian programmer named Pyotr Levashov has been arrested in Barcelona. The Russian embassy in Spain confirmed the arrest but did not provide details, Reuters reported.

Russia Today reported the suspect might be involved with alleged interference in last year’s US elections

The television station Russia Today reported that the suspect was held under a US international arrest warrant and might be involved in hacking attacks in connection with alleged interference with last year’s US elections.

The Catalan daily La Vanguardia reports that Levashov was a known spammer who infects computers with malware and then “rents out” these terminals to clients wishing to send out more spam of their own. The newspaper noted that he ranks seventh on a list of the world’s worst spammers, where he is described as “one of the longest operating criminal spam-lords on the internet.”

According to La Vanguardia, Russian cybersecurity experts say that Levashov might also have been working for the Kremlin, attacking websites contrary to the president’s views.

In January, the Spanish police arrested another Russian computer programmer after the US issued an international arrest warrant.

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