February 9, 2018 / 6:31 PM / a year ago

Kosovo detains two cyber crime suspects at U.S. request

PRISTINA (Reuters) - A judge in Kosovo ordered the detention of two men on Friday pending further investigation following a request from the U.S. Justice Department in a cyber crime case involving the trafficking of stolen identities.

Besart Hoxha 25, and Liridon Musliu 26, were among 36 people indicted by the U.S. Justice Department on suspicion of involvement in the trafficking and of causing more than $530 million in losses to consumers.

Eleven other suspects in the case have also been arrested in a number of countries including the United States, Australia, Britain, France, Italy and Serbia.

“They will stay in a detention center for 30 days,” prosecutor Armend Hamiti told Reuters of the two Kosovars.

The U.S. Justice Department said the suspects were involved in a cyber crime network that operated as an online discussion forum known as “Infraud”. The forum ran a sophisticated scheme that facilitated the purchase and sale of Social Security numbers, birthdays and passwords that had been stolen from around the world, it said.

The group worked under the slogan “In Fraud We Trust” and was created in 2010 by Svyatoslav Bondarenko, a 34-year-old Ukrainian, according to the indictment.

Among the stolen items advertised were 795,000 HSBC bank logins, dozens of PayPal logins and credentials, and credit card numbers, the indictment said. Users could also use the site to advertise malware for sale.

Authorities in Pristina said the Justice Department wanted the two Kosvars extradited to the United States, but the U.S. Senate has yet to approve an extradition agreement with Kosovo.

Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Gareth Jones

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