Global cyberfraud gang’s ‘co-founder’ arrested in Thailand

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A Russian man accused of co-running a global cybercrime network closed in a US-led crackdown this week has been arrested in Bangkok and will face extradition, Thai police said on Friday.

Sergey Medvedev, 31, is accused of co-founding “Infraud Organisation”, an online network that stole and sold credit card and other personal identity data, causing US$530 million in losses, according to US authorities.

On Wednesday the US Department of Justice indicted 36 people on racketeering conspiracy and other charges for their roles in the crime syndicate.

Thirteen defendants were arrested in the US and six other countries – Australia, the UK, France, Italy, Kosovo and Serbia.

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Medvedev was not listed as one of the suspects charged this week but was described in the indictment as co-administrator of the network with its Ukraine founder Svyatoslav Bondarenko, who is still at large.

Masked police armed with automatic weapons swooped on his Bangkok condo on February 2, making the arrest before US justice officials indicted other alleged members of the ring.

“[Medvedev] is now being detained at Bangkok Remand Prison waiting for US authorities to take him for prosecution in the US,” said Nuthapon Rattanamongkolsak, a Thai officer from the Crime Suppression Division.

The US embassy in Bangkok declined to comment.

The Russian national has frequently travelled in and out of Thailand over the past six years on tourist visas, the officer said.

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“He has no real job here and spent his life as any other tourist,” Nuthapon said, adding that he expected authorities to extradite Medvedev before the end of the month.

Infraud was founded in Ukraine in 2010 and touted itself with the slogan “In Fraud We Trust”.

It became the “premier destination” on the internet for buying goods with counterfeit or stolen credit card information, according to US authorities.

The organisation, which had 10,901 approved “members” by 2017, also provided an “escrow” service for transactions in cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, the indictment said.

Medvedev is not the first alleged cybercriminal to have used Thailand as a base.

Last year Thai police arrested a 26-year-old Canadian who was wanted by the US for running AlphaBay, at the time the world’s largest dark web marketplace for drugs and other contraband.

The suspect, Alexandre Cazes, died in Thai police custody before he could be extradited.

Officers said the computer programmer hanged himself with a towel in his cell in Bangkok.

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