MOSCOW, Dec 3 – The founder of Group-IB, Ilya Sachkov, who is accused of high treason, could have conveyed to the American authorities information about the Fancy Bear hackers, who in the West are associated with the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, and their attempts to influence the US presidential elections in 2016, reports agency Bloomberg with reference to anonymous sources.
The materials of the Sachkov case, as in the overwhelming majority of investigations related to treason, are classified.
According to unconfirmed official information of the Bloomberg agency, the arrest of Sachkov could be connected with one of the “government hacker operations.”
“One of his alleged violations was that he provided the US authorities with information about a hacker group of the Russian military intelligence GRU, which American cybersecurity companies called Fancy Bear, and its attempts to influence the US presidential election in 2016,” agency message.
According to sources, the information that Sachkov allegedly disclosed helped the American authorities to identify “the GRU agents involved in the hacker attack.”
Bloomberg notes that he was unable to establish whether these alleged actions were “part of the formal charges against Sachkov.”
According to Bloomberg’s anonymous sources, Sachkov, like the former head of the Information Security Center (CIB) of the FSB, Colonel Sergei Mikhailov, convicted of treason, collaborated with foreign governments. According to unnamed sources, Sachkov, who was a witness in the Mikhailov case, knew Colonel Mikhailov and worked with him for several years.
Bloomberg’s agency draws its own conclusion from the words of its anonymous sources that both essentially provided Western officials with information that allegedly helped the United States establish “Russia’s role in the hacker attack on the elections.” No concrete evidence is provided for this – as in other publications of the Western media with reference to anonymous sources on the topic of “Russian interference” in the US elections.
According to the agency, it was this information that ultimately led to US sanctions against senior GRU officials and the indictment of 12 of its alleged employees.
Sources allegedly familiar with the Sachkov case told the agency that one of the reasons “he could become a target” could be that he provided Western services with information about the founder of another cybersecurity company Vladislav Klyushin, who was detained in March by the Swiss authorities at the request of the United States. Klyushin is accused of insider trading in securities based on stolen and non-public information with the participation of several accomplices. According to the agency, Klyushin’s lawyer Oliver Sirik says that the US authorities want to accuse his client of organizing a hacker attack on the elections, and the charges of insider trading are just a pretext.
One of Klyushin’s alleged colleagues, Ivan Ermakov, according to anonymous sources of the agency, was allegedly among 12 GRU officers who were accused in the United States of a hacker attack on the elections. He is also a defendant in an insider trading case against Klyushin, Bloomberg claims.
According to the agency, citing sources, Sachkov himself feared a few weeks before his arrest that he might be detained.
Earlier, Sachkov, whom the court on Tuesday extended his arrest until the end of February in the case of treason, appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin with a request to facilitate his transfer to house arrest. Sachkov’s letter was read to journalists at a court in Moscow by his lawyer Sergei Afanasyev.
Sachkov faces punishment in the form of imprisonment from 12 to 20 years. He was arrested at the end of September.
According to the businessman’s lawyer Dmitry Dikhtyar, Sachkov does not admit his guilt, and the criminal case is not related to the activities of the company he founded.
Group-IB is an international company developing solutions for detecting and preventing cyberattacks, detecting fraud, investigating high-tech crimes and protecting intellectual property on the network.
The group has been involved in international cybercrime investigations. The company is an official partner of Interpol and Europol, among its clients are the largest Russian and international financial companies, oil and gas and industrial groups, software solution providers, telecom operators and government agencies.