Last Tuesday, Karim Baratov was arrested for allegedly hacking millions of Yahoo! accounts, which included some of journalists and officials.
According to the US authorities, Karim was hired by Russian Intelligence agents to find out sensitive information.
On the other hand, people who know Baratov paint a completely different picture. Acquaintances and friends of Baratov say that he was an extremely polite and quiet person who never talked about his work. On his Instagram profile, he mostly posted pictures of his cars, when he was at club with friends or at gym and pencil drawings.
On 14th February, he wrote in a Facebook post that he had paid his mortgage and was the proud owner of a BMW 7 Series. He always referred to his work as “online projects”, which is what sparked the FBI’s interest.
The application that was filled for his arrest in Ontario court says that Baratov has the means and the money to run and therefore, must be treated as a person who poses high flight risk.
According to the prosecutors, Baratov used “spear fishing”, a technique that dupes Yahoo! account users into opening an email which allows the hacker to steal their financial data and personal information. Alexsey Belan, Baratov’s co-conspirator had already been arrested once in 2013 in Greece but escaped to Russia before he could be extradited. For this reason, the US authorities warned Canadian court that if word got of Baratov’s warrant for arrest, then he could flee the country.
Amedeo Dicarlo, Baratov’s lawyer is working hard to get the case resolved so that he gets out before the extradition order to the US takes place. Despite the evidence, which is still shaky at best, Dicarlo says that all allegations are unfounded.
Baratov has a bail hearing on April 5, and if it does not go well, he will be extradited to the US for a full trial.