A court in Moscow sentenced Vladimir Anikeev to two years in prison on Thursday for leaking the hacked correspondence of senior Kremlin officials and members of the Russian elite.
Mr Anikeev had earlier pled guilty to being the ringleader of the shadowy online collective Shaltai-Boltai, or Humpty Dumpty, in a closed proceeding in Moscow city court. No further details of the case were released. The court moved to hold the trial in secret as speculation mounted over whether Kremlin officials would admit to being victims of the hacks.
Shaltai-Boltai captivated Kremlinologists from 2014 until Mr Anikeev’s arrest last year with a series of audacious leaks of hacked inboxes belonging to senior government officials, the defense ministry, and businessmen, as well as proxy figures managing an army of online trolls or waging subterfuge in Europe on Russia’s behalf. Alexander Glazastikov, a fellow member of the group who subsequently sought asylum in Estonia, told the FT in February that the group made between $1m to $2m selling some of the stolen files.
Last year, Mr Glazastikov claimed, Mr Anikeev told him the group acquired unnamed handlers in the Russian security services. A lawyer for Mr Anikeev says he denies working with intelligence officers.
Many facts about Shaltai-Boltai remain unclear, including how many other people were involved in the group. Mr Glazastikov said he did not know. Two men, Konstantin Teplyakov and Alexander Filinov, were arrested alongside Mr Anikeev.
At around the same time, police arrested two senior cybersecurity officials in the FSB, the KGB’s successor agency, and a senior researcher at security firm Kaspersky Labs, on treason charges, but Mr Anikeev’s lawyer says he was not tried alongside them.