Accused Russian Hacker Can Be Sent to U.S., Dutch Court Says

A Russian accused of taking part in the most prolific computer-hacking organization ever uncovered by American authorities can be extradited to the U.S. after a Dutch court rejected his bid to serve any sentence in the Netherlands.

Vladimir Drinkman failed to plausibly show “that the U.S. won’t comply with treaty obligations,” The Hague-based court said in a statement on its website today. The U.S. was first to ask for Drinkman’s extradition and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten was within his rights to ignore a separate extradition request from Russia, the court said. Drinkman will appeal the decision, his lawyer, Bart Stapert, said by phone.

Drinkman has been at the center of a 2 ½-year legal tussle over whether he should be sent to the U.S. for prosecution. Stapert told the Dutch court on Jan. 13 that sending his client to the U.S. with no provision for his return would mean the end of his family life if he were convicted and sentenced.

Drinkman, a 34-year-old Muscovite has been fighting extradition to the U.S. since he was arrested while vacationing in Amsterdam in June 2012. Federal prosecutors in New Jersey indicted him and four other men in July 2013 on charges of hacking 17 retailers, financial institutions and payment processors, including Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ) Inc., 7-Eleven Inc., Carrefour SA (CA) and J.C. Penney Co. to steal more than 160 million credit- and debit-card numbers.

Of the five men charged in the U.S. indictment — four Russians and one Ukrainian — Drinkman said he’d only met Dmitriy Smilianets of Moscow, with whom he’d been on vacation in Amsterdam.

Smilianets didn’t fight extradition from the Netherlands. He has pleaded not guilty, and is currently in jail in Morristown, New Jersey.