Prosecutor: Russian Man’s Computer Linked to Hacking Scheme

When federal agents arrested a Russian man in the Maldives in 2014, they found 1.7 million stolen credit card numbers on his laptop computer, a federal prosecutor told the jury Monday during opening statements.

That was "1.7 million people who had eaten at the wrong restaurant and their personal information was sitting on that man's computer," Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Wilkinson said of Roman Seleznev. He had collected the credit card numbers by hacking into restaurants in Washington and other states, Wilkinson said.

"The evidence will show that for seven years, the defendant was one of the largest traffickers of stolen credit card numbers in the world," Wilkinson said.

Seleznev's lawyer, John Henry Browne, said he will decide by Tuesday morning whether he will make an opening statement.

Browne plans to argue that prosecutors have failed to adequately connect Seleznev with the computer hacks that hit more than 200 businesses over several years. Browne also will likely argue that the agents who took possession of Seleznev's computer opened it without a warrant and may have tampered with or altered some of its data.

The judge had previously refused to grant a motion to suppress the information taken from the computer, but said Browne can make the argument to the jury.

Seleznev's trial in U.S. District Court is expected to run more than two weeks.

After the jury left for the day, Browne told U.S. District Judge Richard Jones that he objected to Wilkinson's mention of Seleznev's arrest in the Maldives. Browne and the Russian government had argued that the arrest was a kidnapping that violated international law. But Jones had ruled in earlier hearings that the kidnapping claim could not be brought up during trial.

Wilkinson's statements about the Maldives may be grounds for a mistrial motion, Browne said.

The prosecutor's opening statement laid out the history of the...

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