A court in Connecticut has sentenced a notorious veteran Russian cybercriminal to time served after a 15-year career of compromising thousands of computers around the world. The man, known as the ‘Spam King,’ will now go free.
Peter Levashov was detained in Spain in 2014 at the request of the Americans and extradited to the United States in February 2018. Later that year, he pleaded guilty to causing intentional damage to a protected computer, conspiracy, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
On Tuesday, despite prosecutors asking for at least 12 years, he was sentenced to 33 months – the time he had already spent behind bars. According to Judge Robert N. Chatigny his punishment had been severe enough, and he should be allowed to go back to being a family man.
Levashov was the brains behind the Kelihos botnet, an operation that infected at least 50,000 computers. However, over the past 15 years, the prosecutors say he had created another two other networks, compromising hundreds of thousands of devices worldwide. He was also accused of sending mass amounts of email, up to as many as four billion spam messages a day.
The FBI had been attempting to arrest Levashov since 2007, but he had remained in Russia to avoid being detained. According to reports, Moscow refused to hand him over due to a provision in Russia’s constitution that prohibits extraditing its citizens to foreign countries.
The case made international news in 2018 when US tech giant Apple aided the American authorities in bringing Levashov to justice. The company, which regularly refuses to help law enforcement, allowed access to the Russian man’s iCloud account, it was revealed.
When he was arrested, Levashov said he feared for his life in the US, with his wife convinced she would never see her husband again.
“I don’t know what to do. One thing I clearly understand is that if my husband is extradited to the US, my son and I will never see him again. They will cook up anything but will never let him go,” Maria Levashova told RT.
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