March 31 (UPI) — A suspected Russian hacker has been extradited to the United States, the Czech government said on Friday, a move that could exacerbate U.S.-Russia tensions.
Yevgeniy Nikulin, accused of hacking the websites of Dropbox, LinkedIn and other U.S. companies, was flown out of the Czech Republic on Thursday night, the Czech Justice Ministry said, after the country’s top court rejected a late appeal by Russia.
Nikulin also had his own appeal against extradition and a request for asylum in the Czech Republic denied.
He was indicted in California on several counts of computer-aided fraud and identity theft. Czech authorities detained him in 2016.
Nikulin has denied all charges.
Russia also filed for his extradition, seeking his return to face charges of petty theft online, Radio Prague reported.
Although Russian authorities expressed disappointment in the Czech government’s decision, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said while visiting the Czech Republic last week that the United States filed its extradition papers before Russia did. He added that damage Nikulin caused in the United States was more severe than in Russia.
The extradition comes as the U.S. government investigates alleged Russian cyberattacks and interference in its 2016 presidential campaign.