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Accused Russian businessman will have to await trial behind bars rather than in a Seaport apartment; judge rules he's just too much of a flight risk

A federal judge ruled today there's no way to assure a Russian businessman accused of online fraud and hacking would actually show up for trial, so ordered him held behind bars pending the outcome of his trial in Boston.

Vladislav Dmitriyevich Klyushin, 41, of Moscow, has been held at the Plymouth County jail since his arrival in Massachusetts last month following extradition from Switzerland - where he was nabbed after getting off a private jet as he walked to a private helicopter that was to ferry him to the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt.

The Swiss arrested Klyushin at the request of US authorities, who allege that he and employees at his M-13 firm hacked their way into American servers containing financial statements by publicly held companies before they were made public - letting them make at least $80 million in profits over two years by trading the stocks before the statements were released.

Some of those employees who were indicted with him - and who remain in Russia - face separate charges in other US courts of trying to influence the 2016 presidential election. Bloomberg recently reported Klyushin might at least have information about those hacks as well, although the charges against him only relate to financial hacking.

Federal officials have not specifically said how they chose to try Klyushin in Boston, although some of the skullduggery was allegedly done through a Boston data center. Under the more serious of the four charges against him, he is facing a potential prison sentence of 20 years and a fine of $5 million.

At a hearing today, US District Court Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler said Klyushin is a "sophisticated businessman" from a country with which the US does not have an extradition treaty, a man trained in the law and familiar with the vagaries of international travel, with a $4-million yacht and sitting on unknown amounts of money in other countries. There is no way, she said, that any conditions of bail could assure somebody like that would stick around for trial.

Through his attorney, Klyushin had proposed putting up $2.5 million as collateral for bail - part of that the value of a condo in London - so that he could live in an apartment in the Seaport, near the federal courthouse, while awaiting trial. Klyushin also volunteered to pay for a private security firm to watch over him to ensure he did not try to flee.

Bowler just was not having it - any more than she was buying alleged support letters from family and friends who claimed Klyushin was a loving father to his five children and just a shining exemplar of humanity, letters that had no contact information with which to verify their authenticity and all of which started with similar beginnings.

Klyushin submitted a list of assets to the federal probation department, but Bowler said there was no way to verify them - or to find out where else in the world he might have stashed money and other valuable goods with which he might make up the loss of the money and condo should he flee back to Russia.

She also discounted a letter from the Russian embassy in Washington that the Russian Federation would take no steps to help Klyushin escape Massachusetts - something she said she had never seen before in her decades of involvement with cases involving foreign nationals facing American charges.

Even if the Russian government did nothing, "there is always the possibility of obtaining false travel documents to exit a country," Bowler said, adding that is something she has seen "on numerous occasions."

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

"She also discounted a letter from the Soviet embassy in Washington that the Russian Federation would take no steps to help Klyushin escape Massachusetts"

And where in Washington can one find the Soviet Embassy?

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I need to try to work on one thing at a time. It was, of course, the Russian embassy.

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caused me to read the story more closely. The sentence that followed is a real gem

something she said she had never seen before in her decades of involvement with cases involving foreign nationals facing American charges.

Nothing suspicious at all about an adversarial government randomly blurting out, "we won't help him sneak out of your country."

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All their arguments were a blinking “move along, nothing to see here, folks!” sign, as if that would diffuse any suspicion.

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Remember those bad old Soviet days, when the KGB ran everything, before freedom-loving democrats like Vladimir Putin came along?

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imagine you were walking off your private plane, thinking you were going to Zermat and next thing you know you're stuck in the Plymouth HoC indefinitely. Sure, he'll get off somehow and get to go live a live of fabulous wealth within the year but right now, he's getting what he deserves (based on the facts reported.)

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At least he was spared the indignity of having to use his own two feet to get from his private jet to his private helicopter.

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He was arrested in Switzerland in March. Then he spent eight months in a Swiss jail while he and the Russian government fought extradition to the US. He lost and was only transported to Plymouth last month (Dec. 20, I think, the detention warrant was received in Geneva on Dec. 18).

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… the slopes of Zermatt as he clutched the bars of his jail cell window, poor guy.

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One of my favorite details is that his family boarded the helicopter and had the ten day (IIRC) ski vacation anyway.

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“ Klyushin also volunteered to pay for a private security firm to watch over him to ensure he did not try to flee.”

And of course they wouldn’t let him flee, not under any circumstances! Totally believeable.

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Liz Cheney and team would like a word...

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Vlad get me out of this!

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This guy is the definition of flight risk.

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This guy is also at risk to be done in by Putin.

Three of the people added that they believe that Klyushin has access to secret records of other high-level GRU operations abroad. Russian military intelligence agents in recent years have been linked to a series of hacking attacks as well as the attempted chemical poisoning assassination of dissident ex-GRU colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the U.K. in 2018. Russia has denied involvement.

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If the Russians wanted someone dead in the local jail, I think that's not hard to accomplish?

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They have experience is "accidently" letting go war criminals:

https://www.ijmonitor.org/2009/07/taylor-alleges-us-govt-helped-him-esca...

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What? I mean, wow. But also, weren't his war crimes not until after this? He was only an accused thief at the time? I feel like I need to read up on this guy, he sounds like a real piece of shit we'd enjoy working with to further our national interests.

You gotta hand it to the guy, he was the first to win a presidency with the open claim that they could shoot someone on Fifth Ave and get elected.

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But also, weren't his war crimes not until after this?

Yes, unless you count backing the Samuel K. Doe coup. It was money criming that got him in the Plymouth HOC. Leymah Gbowee's "Mighty Be Our Powers" provides some interesting background on Taylor's involvement in the Liberian Civil Wars and a bit on his instrumental role in empowering the RUF in Sierra Leone.

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"Accused Russian Businessman"

Do we have any proof that he's a Russian businessman?
Is it now a crime to be a Russian businessman?

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I read the other day that academic papers are so horribly dense because the authors take such pains to avoid any imprecise mis-wordings like this.

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