Spanish authorities have detained Russian IT expert Pyotr Levashov in Barcelona, allegedly on a US warrant. According to unconfirmed reports, his arrest was linked with hacking attacks during the US presidential race.
Police detained the 36-year-old Levashov while he was vacationing in Spain. He is suspected of hacking-related offenses and wanted by the US, DW's Russian language service reported on Saturday. His mobile phone was also seized.
Levashov's wife Maria told the Russian channel RT that she spoke with Spanish officials after the arrest. The officials mentioned "something about a virus that was supposedly created by my husband" and was related to the victory of Donald Trump in last year's presidential race.
Accusations under Obama
The US has repeatedly accused Russian hackers of stealing data from American politicians and leaking it to the public in order to manipulate election results in Trump's favor. As President Barrack Obama was preparing to step down and hand over the reins to Trump, his officials blamed the Kremlin for sanctioning and sponsoring the hacking attacks. Moscow denied the accusations.
After Levashov's arrest, a spokesman in the US Justice Department said that the case "remained under seal." Washington had "no information to provide at this time," he told the Reuters news agency.
According to Maria Levashova, the IT expert is now waiting for Spanish authorities to decide whether to extradite him to the US.
dj/kl (Reuters, AFP, EFE)