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19 Dec, 2021 15:12

Moscow blasts extradition of Russian businessman to US

Moscow blasts extradition of Russian businessman to US

Moscow has condemned the extradition of a Russian IT firm owner from Switzerland to the US. His lawyer said Washington wants to tie the man to alleged meddling by Moscow in the 2016 American presidential election.

The extradition of businessman Vladislav Klyushin is “another episode of Washington’s continuing ‘hunt’ for Russian nationals in third countries,” the Russian Embassy in Switzerland, told TASS on Sunday.

Spokesperson Vladimir Khokhlov said Moscow was “deeply disappointed” by the decision of a Swiss court to reject Klyushin’s appeal to block his extradition on Friday. The man was handed over to American police officers in Zurich on Saturday, who escorted him on a flight, according to Switzerland’s Federal Office of Justice.

The software developed by Klyushin’s media monitoring and analytics company, M13, is used by Russian state agencies, including the federal government and Presidential Executive Office, according to the firm’s website. The businessman was detained by Swiss police in March during a family skiing trip, his lawyer, Oliver Ciric, told the media.

Swiss justice officials said the US accused Klyushin of insider trading that involved “tens of millions of dollars.”

Ciric believes the persecution of the businessman is politically motivated, and that he will face “inhuman and degrading treatment” when extradited to the US.

He told The Times in September that the charges of insider trading were being used as a pretext to transport Klyushin to the US. The lawyer said his client would likely be charged with heading an alleged Russian covert operation to meddle in the 2016 US presidential election and hack the server of the Democratic Party.

In the same interview, Ciric claimed that Klyushin had access to “certain security information” related to the Russian government, and rebuffed recruitment attempts by US and British intelligence agents in the past.

The lawyer said that Klyushin’s criminal case file has been sealed by a Massachusetts court, which is “quite unusual” for financial charges that are typically publicized by a US financial regulator.

US officials accused the Kremlin of seeking to influence the vote and hacking the server of the Democratic National Committee and an email account of John Podesta, who led Hillary Clinton’s campaign against Donald Trump. Russia consistently denied these allegations. Klyushin has denied any involvement in insider trading and hacking.

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