Russian Banks May Be Linked to Zeus Hackers

Thursday, November 18, 2010

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The Chief of the Russian Financial Monitoring Service, Yury Chikhankin, announced a pending investigation into whether Russian financial institutions participated in laundering stolen funds.

The announcement that some of the nation's largest banks may have received funds stolen by those responsible for the infamous Zeus Trojan virus was made while Chikhankin was meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

"We are working together with the Americans. The question we are looking at is whether our Russian financial institutions could have been involved in these [money laundering and hacking] operations," Chikhankin said.

The international heist, thought to be lead by Russian hackers, netted more than $3 million dollars from banks in the United States, and more than $9 million from banks in the UK.

A large scale international law enforcement effort culminated in October with the indictment of more than 60 people in the US.

The Zeus Trojan was spread through tainted emails and communications designed to look like messages from the popular business-oriented social networking service LinkedIn.

Two convictions have already been handed down in the case against Dmitry Krivosheyev and Maxim Illarionov, who may receive as much as 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000.

Authorities believe more accomplices have yet to be identified, and the announcement that Russian banks may have worked to launder the ill-gotten funds could result in even more indictments in coming months.

Source:  http://en.rian.ru/russia/20101116/161361696.html

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