April 5, 2017 / 1:32 PM / 3 years ago

Czech court to rule on extradition of alleged Russian hacker

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Prosecutors in Prague on Wednesday cleared the way for a court hearing on whether a Russian accused of hacking LinkedIn Corp should be extradited.

Yevgeniy Nikulin was arrested last year and is sought by both the United States and Russia.

A spokeswoman for the Prague Municipal Court said the court would announce in coming days a hearing date to decide on U.S. and Russian extradition requests. Prague municipal prosecutors said both extradition demands had substance.

Nikulin has been indicted by a U.S. federal grand jury that said he had hacked into the U.S.-based social media companies LinkedIn Corp, Dropbox and Formspring.

Russia has also applied to have Nikulin extradited to Moscow in connection with a 2009 internet theft of $3,450.

If the court determines that both countries’ requests are valid, the justice minister would make the final extradition decision.

Moscow criticized Nikulin’s arrest last October, saying Washington was mounting a global manhunt against its citizens.

A U.S. federal grand jury in Oakland, California, indicted Nikulin on Oct. 21. His arrest in Prague that month was carried out in cooperation with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

LinkedIn Corp has said the arrest was related to a 2012 breach at the social networking company that might have compromised the credentials of 100 million users, prompting it to launch a massive password reset operation.

Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Stephen Powell

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