US Takes Hacker Extradition Case To London Court

Two men are accused of helping run the Infraud hacking group, said to have stolen more than £409m from individuals and banks

The US has taken its efforts to extradite two alleged members of a financial hacking group before a London court.

Taimoor Zaman and Anthony Nnamdi Okeakpu are accused of being members of the Infraud Organisation, which was behind a dark web forum said to have caused more than $530 million (£409m) in losses to individuals and banks, the BBC reported.

The group, said to have had 36 members, stole credit cards and identity information and posted it online, using the motto “In Fraud We Trust”.

A barrister representing the US government told a Westminster Magistrates’ Court judge that both men were senior members of Infraud.

Identity theft

Zaman is alleged to have been the forum’s moderator and administrator, using the handle “Scottish”, and to have posted payment card CVV numbers and other stolen data.

He left Italy after being questioned by the authorities there and came to the UK, before being arrested on 9 February in Blackburn, Lancashire, the lawyer said.

Anthony Nnamdi Okeakpu, a full-time student at a London college, was allegedly another administrator under the alias “Moneymafia”.

He was arrested on 14 February at Heathrow when returning from Nigeria, and police later seized computer equipment from his flat, the court heard.

A US-based lawyer testifying on behalf of Okeakpu said that if extradited the men would wait until late next year or 2020 before coming to trial.

Extradition controversies

The US has been aggressive in its pursuit of hackers internationally, but its extradition attempts have at times faced controversy.

Scottish NASA hacker Gary McKinnon faced a ten-year battle over his extradition to the US before the order was withdrawn in 2012, and hacker Lauri Love has also battled extradition for years, with a High Court judge upholding his appeal against extradition in February of this year.

But US authorities bypassed the extradition process in arresting Marcus Hutchins, of North Devon, by waiting until he attended a security conference in Las Vegas, and then detaining him at the airport on the way to his flight back to the UK.

Hutchins, now a security researcher, is accused of creating and distributing the Kronos banking malware in his earlier days.

In July Kim Dotcom, the founder of Megaupload, lost his most recent court battle against extradition from New Zealand to the US.