In December 2016 two Russian state security officers and a cyber-security expert in Moscow were charged with treason due to the allegations made by a Russian businessman seven years ago.
One of them is the head of the computer incidents investigation team at Kaspersky Lab, Ruslan Stoyanov, the two officers of the Federal Security Service (FSB) are Sergei Mikhailov and Dmitry Dokuchayev.
According to the sources, the authorities arrested the suspects may have passed secrets to US firm Verisign and other unidentified American companies. These companies then have shared the secrets with US intelligence agencies.
The authorities have given no public explanation for the arrests, but the source connected to the investigation told the Reuters agency that the arrests were a result of accusations made in 2010 by Pavel Vrublevsky. Vrublevsky is a Russian businessman and founder of the online payments company ChronoPay.
Verisign representatives deny that the company received secrets from the cyber security expert.
“Verisign Vice President Joshua Ray declined to comment on Stoyanov specifically, but said his company acquired information in unclassified ways and does not believe its reports to government agencies and other customers included state secrets.” read the article published by the Reuters.
Russian authorities and the Russian FSB declined to comment on the case.
According to cyber security experts, the arrests are the response of the Kremlin to any sort of collaboration between Russian experts and US authorities.
“I can confirm we (Chronopay) expect to be part of this case. In 2010 we provided the FSB and other important Russian agencies with evidence that at least one FSB employee, as well as several other people, were involved in treason,” Vrublevsky told Reuters, referring to his past allegations against Stoyanov and Mikhailov.
Just after the allegations, Vrublevsky was arrested and convicted on charges of organizing a cyber attack on a competitor, but now he is free on parole.
Vrublevsky now added that a fourth person had been arrested in the case, he is Georgy Fomchenkov, a former FSB officer.
“Public documents available online show Stoyanov and Fomchenkov both had appeals against their detention rejected by the Moscow District Military Court on Feb. 15. Two days later, Mikhailov lost an appeal at the same court, which often hears sensitive cases relating to state security.” added the Reuters.
(Security Affairs – FSB, Russian cyber experts)