Vladislav Klyushin, a Russian businessman linked to the Kremlin, has been handed a nine-year prison sentence by a US court. His conviction is tied to a stock market scheme that accumulated nearly $100 million, leveraging confidential earnings details obtained by infiltrating US computer networks. Klyushin's enterprise, a Moscow-based IT firm named M-13, served the top tiers of the Russian government. After undergoing a two-week trial in Boston, he was found guilty on charges including wire fraud and securities fraud.
Insider Trading Scheme Unveiled
Between 2018 and 2020, hackers accessed and downloaded undisclosed earnings reports from several companies, notably tech leaders Tesla and Microsoft. Using this pilfered data, Klyushin and his team executed trades before the information went public. Investigations reveal that Klyushin's personal gains from this operation exceeded $33 million. The modus operandi involved intruding into computer systems, stealing earnings-related filings from a plethora of companies, and capitalizing on this insider knowledge for lucrative trades.
Circumstances of Klyushin's Arrest
Klyushin has been under US detention since his extradition in 2021. Swiss officials apprehended him upon his arrival on a private jet, right before he was set to board a helicopter for a ski resort. Once his sentence concludes, it is expected that Klyushin will face deportation to Russia.
Speculations on Prisoner Exchange
Klyushin's sentencing coincides with US officials' endeavors to secure the release of Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter and US citizen, held in Russia since March. While discussions of a potential prisoner exchange are in the air, with President Joe Biden showing keen interest, Klyushin's involvement in such a swap remains a matter of speculation.
Status of Co-Conspirators
Four alleged accomplices, one of whom is a Russian military intelligence officer implicated in the 2016 US presidential election interference, are still at large. Although prosecutors suspect these individuals remain active, they concede the slim chances of their extradition to the US. Klyushin's case brings to light the global nature of financial crimes and the lengths governments will traverse to ensure justice.