A cybersecurity entrepreneur in Russia has been arrested for treason against the state.
Ilya Sachkov, 35, is the director of Group-IB, a firm that specializes in countering cybercrime. According to the BBC, he is accused of working with foreign intelligence to undermine the Russian government, claims he denies.
Sachkov faces up to 20 years in prison. The details of his case are few, as treason cases are classified.
He was arrested Tuesday and was ordered to be held in pre-trial detention for two months, the AFP reports.
“Related to treason”
The Moscow offices of Group-IB, which is based in Singapore, were searched by the authorities on Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company released a statement saying they are “confident in the innocence of the company’s CEO and his business integrity.”
According to the AFP, Sachkov was once recognized by Russian leader Vladimir Putin as a leading entrepreneur and received an award from the Kremlin for his work.
Group-IB is a “global threat hunting and adversary-centric cyber intelligence company that specializes in investigating and preventing hi-tech cybercrimes,” according to its website. The company is partnered with Interpol and Europol.
Business leaders complained that the charges could demoralize the technology sector, but according to the Wall Street Journal, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday that there is no cause for concern because “the accusations are not related to the economy, but are related to treason.”
Russia takes on YouTube
Putin has been accused by Western detractors of arbitrarily arresting, killing, and persecuting his political opponents, and some have pointed to treason charges as an example of this. Some also accuse Russia of targeting Western nations and their infrastructure with cyberattacks, the AFP notes.
While Russia’s alleged repression draws criticism from the West, things haven’t been looking too free lately in countries like Australia and even the United States, where former President Donald Trump has been banned from social media and some of his supporters are being held as political prisoners.
Global tech monopolies have become more aggressive in censoring speech, with Google’s YouTube recently announcing they will remove any “misinformation” that is skeptical of vaccines including the COVID-19 shot. “Working closely with health authorities, we looked to balance our commitment to an open platform with the need to remove egregious harmful content,” YouTube said, according to Fox News.
Russia, meanwhile, has threatened to ban YouTube after the company removed channels for Russia’s state-backed news outlet RT.