Latvia puts extradition of suspected hacker to U.S. on hold

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 08, 2013 11:23 AM

RIGA (Reuters) - Latvia said on Thursday it had shelved the extradition to the United States of a man suspected of spreading the Gozi computer virus after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said it would take on the case.

The Latvian government had agreed on Tuesday to extradite Deniss Calovskis to the U.S. where he and two other men are charged with creating and releasing the virus that infected more than a million computers, while Calovskis's attorney said he was taking the case to the ECHR.

The Latvian foreign ministry said in a statement that Latvian officials had received a letter from the ECHR saying Calovskis should not be extradited for the duration of the proceedings before the court.

"The government will comply with this ruling," Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis told a news conference.

Kristine Lice, Latvia's representative in contacts with the ECHR, told Reuters it was not yet known when the court would hear the case.

Calovskis's attorney, Lauris Liepa, told Latvian news website diena.lv that attorneys had asked the ECHR to review whether Latvia's court and government had respected Calovskis' human rights in deciding to extradite him.

Calovskis, 27, was detained in Riga in December 2012. He denies the charges.

The virus infected at least 40,000 computers in the United States, including more than 160 NASA computers. It was used to access personal bank account information from computer users and steal millions of dollars from customer accounts globally, according to papers filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

(Reporting by Aija Braslina; Editing by Michael Roddy)