A convicted Russian hacker was detained at the Moscow airport Tuesday after he was deported by the United States in what appeared to be a rare extradition, Russia’s Tass news agency reported.
Aleksei Burkov was serving a nine-year sentence in U.S. federal prison for a range of cybercrimes, including identity theft and money laundering. The Justice Department had accused Burkov, a Russian national, of running a cyber forum for the sale of illegal goods and services, as well as a credit card scheme that stole more than $20 million from U.S. consumers.
But his return to Russia is just the latest twist in a criminal saga that has spanned multiple countries since Israeli authorities first arrested Burkov in 2015. Russia later charged him in absentia with a number of financial and hacking crimes and sought his arrest through Interpol, Tass reported.
Israel, however, extradited Burkov to the United States in 2019.
The United States does not typically extradite convicted felons to other countries without assurances that they will serve their full sentences. Russia and the United States do not have an extradition treaty.
A spokeswoman for Russia’s Interior Ministry said Tuesday that Burkov had been deported from the United States.
“Today on arrival from New York to Moscow, he was taken into custody by Russian police officers,” Irina Volk said, Tass reported.
Russia has also imprisoned several Americans in a string of recent high-profile cases, further straining relations between the two countries.
Last year, a Russian court sentenced former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan to 16 years of hard labor for espionage – a charge he denied. Another former U.S. Marine, Trevor Reed, was also sentenced to prison last year for allegedly endangering Russian police in a drunken brawl. Reed has dismissed the charges as “clearly political.”