Russian Hacker Claims U.S. Agents Pressured Him to Confess to Clinton Cyberattack
A Russian man detained on hacking charges has told reporters that he was pressured to confess to a cyberattack on former U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton.
Yevgeny Nikulin was arrested in Oct. 5, 2016 in the Czech Republic at the request of U.S. authorities.
He stands accused of hacking the servers of several U.S. Companies, including LinkedIn and DropBox between 2012 and 2013.
Russia has also requested Nikulin's extradition, accusing him of stealing money from online WebMoney accounts.
In a letter to U.S. news site Nastoyashchoe Vremya, Nikulin said that he had been offered his freedom and U.S. citizenship if he confessed to a cyberattack on former U.S. presidential candidate Hilary Clinton.
More than 20,000 emails from the Democratic National Convention were released in July 2016, in a scandal which many Clinton supporters claim jeopardized her chances in the run-up to the U.S. presidential elections.
The cyberattack has been widely blamed on Kremlin-backed hackers.
"[They told me:] you will have to confess to breaking into Clinton's inbox for [U.S. President Donald Trump] on behalf of [Russian President Vladimir Putin],” Nikulin wrote. In exchange, his interrogators promised U.S. citizenship, an apartment and money, he said.
Nikulin said that he refused the deal, but that his U.S. interrogators promised to return.
Czech police confirmed that Nikulin had been interrogated by FBI agents, but did not give any further details, Nastoyashchoe Vremya reported. U.S. officials have denied the claims.
Nikulin's extradition hearing is due to take place on May 11. He has denied all charges
The case has drawn some attention in Russia, where reporters have unearthed photos of the self-described “used car salesman” driving lavish cars and taking photos with the Russian elite. Nikulin's social media pages had included snaps with both the daughter of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Kremlin press secretary President Dmitry Peskov.
The Russian has since claimed that he met Shoigu's daughter by chance, and only bumped into Peskov when they “sat in the same cafe.”