Accused Yahoo hacker Karim Baratov is going ahead with a hearing to fight his extradition to the United States, but only if his legal team can’t reach a resolution with U.S. officials in the interim.
Wednesday marked the deadline for when the 22-year-old’s lawyer had to tell a Hamilton court if it was going ahead with the Sept. 8 hearing date, or whether he would waive that hearing and go straight to the U.S. They had been negotiating after Baratov was denied bail because he’s considered a flight risk.
During a brief court appearance Baratov’s lawyer, Amedeo DiCarlo, confirmed the extradition hearing date.
Outside court, DiCarlo said negotiations with U.S. officials, with the help of a legal team south of the border, are taking longer than anticipated. He didn’t want to miss the September hearing without a clear deal in place in the U.S.
“We’ve decided to continue with the extradition process,” he said.
“In between, however, I do have the option of bringing that matter forward and adopting our original plan, which is to waive it.”
DiCarlo continues to meet with U.S. justice officials and a legal team in the U.S. Those meeting had focused on Washington, but have now also shifted to California, where the case originates.
“It’s sort of a race to the finish,” he said. “If I manage to be fruitful in the U.S. then no extradition, if I don’t … then it will be challenged and that is on the basis that he is completely innocent and there is no evidence.”
Baratov has been held without bail since his March 14 arrest in Hamilton, where he was arrested under the Extradition Act after U.S. authorities indicted him for crimes including computer hacking and economic espionage.
He is accused of hacking 80 Yahoo accounts and could face 20 years in prison in the U.S. if convicted.
DiCarlo continues to maintain this case is political, with Baratov caught up in a climate targeting hacking in the U.S.
“The U.S. case has always been the same since Day 1, I’ve always said there is very little evidence,” he said.