Russian computer programmer arrested in Spain reportedly over US election hacking
A Russian programmer has been arrested in Barcelona, Spain, reportedly over suspicion that he was involved in a number of hacking attacks linked to Moscow’s alleged interference in the United States presidential elections last year, Reuters reported on Sunday. While Pyotr Levashov’s arrest was announced by the Russian Embassy in Madrid, it did not confirm the reason for his arrest. Levashov is believed to have been taken into custody under a US international arrest warrant, according to news channel Russia Today. The Russian Embassy and the Spanish Interior Ministry did not confirm the news. A spokesperson for the US Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Peter Carr, said, “The US case remains under seal, so we have no information to provide at this time.”
However, a spokesperson for the Spanish Police told AFP that they had informed his wife Maria Levashov that he was being held over a computer virus linked to Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections. Pyotr Levashov was picked up at the Barcelona Airport on Friday “by officers of the police technological investigation unit following an international complaint”. Maria Levashov has told Russia Today that her husband was taken into custody “at the request of American authorities in connection with cyber crime”, according to AFP. The computer programmer has been moved to Madrid.
Russia’s role in the presidential election has been speculated since the run up to the elections. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley last week said Russia was certainly involved in the US presidential elections. However, Trump has maintained that allegations of Moscow’s influence were all false. Levashov is the second Russian programmer to be arrested in Spain over criminal charges by the US . In January, the Spanish Police had arrested Stanislav Lisov, who was wanted by the US for heading a network of financial fraud.