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Cyber spionage

Kremlin acknowledges murky cyber arrests

Russia's Interfax news agency says cyber experts described as former FSB officers and a Kaspersky Lab employee are facing treason charges. US agencies alleged that Russia influenced the US presidential election.

The Kremlin acknowledged Wednesday that President Vladimir Putin was following murky speculation in Moscow about the arrests of four cyber experts reportedly made in December.

Interfax said two of them, Sergei Mikhailov and Dmitry Dokuchaev, who were senior figures in the FSB's Information Security Center (TsIB), were accused of passing information to the CIA.

The American foreign intelligence agency declined to comment when questioned by Associated Press.

Contradictory claims

Moscow has been swept for days by often contradictory speculative claims, including alleged hacking of the US presidential election and a power struggle within Russia's security services.

Last week, rumor circulated that Ruslan Stoyanov, an executive at the cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, had been arrested.

Kaspersky said the charges against Stoyanov related to a period before he joined the company.

Associated Press said it had confirmation from Russian defense lawyer Ivan Pavlov that at least four arrests had taken place.

Last week, Kaspersky's spokeswoman, Maria Shirokova, said Stoyanov's arrest had "nothing to do" with the firm, adding that the probe dated back to the time before he was hired by the Lab.

Since November's win by US President Donald Trump, Russia has rejected US claims that it meddled in the US presidential election to help Trump win over Hillary Clinton.

In the past, EU and US officials have accused Russia of hacking Western institutions and might try to influence this year's elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany.

Andrei Soldatov said the arrest of the Kaspersky manager "destroys a system that has been 20 years in the making."

ipj/kms (AP, Reuters)

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