This famous hacker wanted in the USA for the biggest data theft in the country’s history has denied reports in Russian media that he has been detained by Interpol.
Russian media outlet Life said today (2nd November) that the famous hacker, who is also the author of a book titled ‘How to Steal a Million’, had been detained by Interpol in Russia’s cultural capital Saint Petersburg.
They added that he is currently wanted in the United States where “he faces life imprisonment in the largest identity theft case in the country’s history”.
But Belarusian citizen Sergei Pavlovich, 38, denies that he has been detained and he has even taken to YouTube to live-stream a message to his followers today (2nd November) as a result of the publication of the article in Life.
The Life article, quoting a local Saint Petersburg newspaper called the Peterburgskiy Dnevnik (Petersburg Diary), said that Interpol officers had arrested the hacker near the Emerald Hotel on the famous Suvorovsky Prospekt avenue in the heart of the city.
It reported that he was taken into custody, with the hacker then posting a black and white photograph on his verified Instagram account, which he captioned: “I am sitting behind bars in a damp dungeon…”
But Pavlovich, taking to YouTube, said: “At the time of check-in at the hotel, Interpol received information about my location, so they found me. Interpol had a red mark on me because I needed to be questioned by them.”
He added: “Journalists misinformed readers because they wrote that I was imprisoned, which is not fair, because yesterday I spent only a few hours in interrogation and then I was released.”
The Life article also cited a New York Times article published on 31st October which claims that the USA and Russia are engaged in secret talks in the hope of reaching a deal, notably regarding cyber security.
This is with the background that there is currently no extradition treaty in place between the two countries.
Sergei Pavlovich is a famous hacker who was at one time earning USD 100,000 (GBP 73,400) per month by the time he was 20 years old, according to The Moscow Times. He is known as one of the most famous ‘carders’ in the former Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its satellite states).
He wrote a book called ‘How to Steal a Million: The Memoirs of a Russian Hacker’, whose blurb on Amazon describes him as “a poor, talented boy from Belarus who made it big in the Russian-speaking hacking world of the early 2000s and earned millions of dollars from credit card fraud in just a few years.
“But he ended up in jail as a result of an FBI-led bust of what was dubbed the ‘largest and most complex identity theft in U.S. history.’ He spent his twenties in Belarus’ brutal prison system.”
He was charged with stealing credit card information from Boston Market, Barnes & Noble, and Forever 21 in 2008 following investigations conducted by American agents.
It is understood that he is still wanted in the US despite having already served time in Belarus.