Swiss court gives green light to extradite Russian businessman to U.S.

Switzerland's national flag is displayed on the Swiss Federal Criminal Court building in Bellinzona
Switzerland's national flag is displayed on the Swiss Federal Criminal Court (Bundesstrafgericht) building in Bellinzona, Switzerland, December 3, 2020. REUTERS/Emma Farge

ZURICH, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Switzerland's highest court dismissed on Friday a final appeal by a Kremlin-linked Russian businessman seeking to block his extradition to the United States by arguing he was a victim of a U.S. political campaign to snare him on trumped-up charges.

The Federal Court upheld a ruling on Monday by the Federal Criminal Court, which said it had no reason to question the independence of the U.S. judicial system and that U.S. authorities had presented sufficient grounds for seeking to try Vladislav Klyushin.

Klyushin, whose Russian company offers media monitoring and cyber-security services to clients including the Russian presidency and government, was detained by Swiss police on March 21 on a U.S. arrest warrant. read more

He was on a family ski trip to Zermatt at the time, his attorney Oliver Ciric had previously said, questioning how U.S. authorities could have been aware of his private travel plans.

Klyushin denies allegations raised in a Massachusetts court that he and accomplices made tens of millions of dollars by trading on intelligence gleaned by hacking into confidential information about listed U.S. companies. read more

His legal camp has said the real reason for his arrest and extradition request to his work and contacts within the Russian government that gave him access to security information.

They argued that he came under U.S. prosecutors' scrutiny because they accuse one of his work colleagues of hacking into files of the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to help sway the 2016 election.

In June, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) approved Klyushin's extradition to the United States. It rejected a Russian request in April to extradite Klyushin to face trial there, ruling the crime he was accused of was not punishable in Switzerland, a key test in extradition decisions.

The United States in April imposed a broad range of sanctions on Russia to punish it for interfering in last year's U.S. election, cyber hacking, bullying Ukraine and other alleged malign actions. read more

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Emma Farge

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