A RUSSIAN computer programmer, Pyotr Levashov, was arrested in Barcelona last week.
It remains unclear as to why Levashov was arrested – the Spanish police and the interior ministry were unavailable for comment and the Russian Embassy in Madrid declined to give details for his arrest.
Russian television station RT has reported that Levashov was arrested under a U.S. international arrest warrant and was suspected of being involved in hacking attacks linked to alleged interference in last year’s US election.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for the US Justice Department’s criminal division, told Reuters: ‘The US case remains under seal, so we have no information to provide at this time.’
The criminal division is separate from the national security division, which is responsible for investigating state-sponsored cybercrimes.
A US Department of Justice official said it was a criminal matter without an apparent national security connection.
In January, Spanish police arrested another Russian computer programmer, whose name was given as ‘Lisov’ and who was wanted by the United States for leading a financial fraud network.
The U.S. government has formally accused Russia of hacking Democratic Party emails to help the campaign of Republican President Donald Trump. The US Congress is also examining links between Russia and Trump during the election campaign.
Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have repeatedly denied that Russia tried to influence the election.