CEO of a top Russian cybersecurity company arrested on treason charges
Russia has arrested Ilya Sachkov, the chief executive of top Russian cybersecurity company Group-IB, on suspicion of state treason and will hold him in custody for two months, Reuters reports.
Russian law enforcement officers searched the Moscow offices of Group-IB on Tuesday, the company said. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the detention of their chief executive.
"Group-IB’s communications team also said that the reason for the search was not yet clear, but noted that all the company’s offices around the world continued providing support to customers and partners as usual," Group-IB stated in a press release.
Group-IB is one of Russia's most prominent cyber security firms. It focuses on investigating high tech crimes and online fraud, with a global client base that includes banks, energy companies, telecoms firms and Interpol.
A lawyer for Sachkov could not be reached for comment and it was not immediately clear what the allegations against him related to.
State treason is punishable by up to 20 years in jail. The details of such cases seldom come to light in full because of their classified nature.
Group-IB said in a statement that the searches at its offices had begun on Tuesday morning, with law enforcement officials leaving that same evening. It said it had no information about why the searches were being conducted.
"Group-IB’s team is confident in the innocence of the company’s CEO and his business integrity," the company stated, adding that co-founder Dmitry Volkov will assume the leadership of the company in the near future.
Sachkov is a well-known figure in the business and IT sectors and has also met President Vladimir Putin at least once. He is the latest in a long series of people, including scientists, soldiers, officials and a former journalist, to be accused of treason in recent years.
Boris Titov, presidential commissioner for entrepreneurs' rights, called on investigators to disclose information about the case against Sachkov. The Kremlin rejected the idea the case could hurt Russia's business climate during a conference call and said it was linked to state treason, not business.
The RTVI TV channel said Sachkov had been detained on Tuesday, citing a source in law enforcement. An RTVI correspondent also reported that men were dragging things from Group-IB's office to a van parked outside.
Group-IB said all services were still running as normal and that the security of client data was ensured by the company's geographically distributed infrastructure.
The company said it was working to clarify the situation.
A number of Russian scientists, soldiers and officials have been charged with treason in recent years after being accused of passing sensitive material to foreign countries.
(Reporting by Anton Kolodyazhnyy and Anton Zverev; Writing by Alexander Marrow/Tom Balmforth; Editing by Andrew Osborn; Additional paragraphs by CyberNews)
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