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
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.”