- Founder of cybersecurity company accused of state treason
- Executive faces up to 20 years in prison, denies charge, says TASS
- Arrest shivers down your spine across IT and the business community
MOSCOW, Sept. 29 (Reuters) – Russian authorities have arrested the chief executive of a large Russian cybersecurity firm on suspicion of state treason, a court said on Wednesday, sowing chills in the IT and security industries. business in Russia.
Ilya Sachkov, 35, who founded Group IB, one of Russia’s top cybersecurity companies, was arrested on Tuesday, RTVI TV reported as law enforcement officers carried out searches in the Moscow offices of the company.
The state-run TASS news agency quoted an anonymous security source as saying that Sachkov was accused of working with unspecified foreign intelligence services and of treason harming Russia’s national interests. He denied both allegations, he said.
The IB Group said in a statement that it was sure Sachkov was not guilty of the allegations, but was unable to comment further on them. There has been no official comment on the case from the security services.
The Lefortovo District Court in Moscow said it had ordered Sachkov’s detention for two months.
State treason carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. The details of these cases are rarely disclosed in full due to their classified nature.
Global IB focuses on investigating high-tech crime and online fraud, with a global customer base that includes banks, energy companies, telecommunications companies and Interpol.
Further searches took place on Wednesday at the St. Petersburg offices of Group IB and other limited companies, the RIA news agency said citing a security source.
Sachkov is a well-known figure in business and IT industries and has also met President Vladimir Putin at least once.
He is the latest in a long line of people, including scientists, soldiers, government officials and a former journalist, to be accused of treason in recent years.
Boris Titov, presidential commissioner for entrepreneurs’ rights, called on investigators to disclose information about the case against Sachkov.
The Kremlin dismissed the idea that the case could harm the business climate in Russia during a conference call and said it was related to state betrayal, not business.
The IB group said the searches of its offices began Tuesday morning, with the departure of the police the same evening. He said he had no information as to why the searches were being carried out.
RTVI TV station said Sachkov was arrested on Tuesday, citing a law enforcement source. An RTVI correspondent also reported that men were dragging items from the Group IB office to a van parked outside.
The IB Group said all services were still functioning normally and the security of customer data was ensured by the company’s geographically distributed infrastructure.
Reporting by Anton Kolodyazhnyy, Anton Zverev, Alexander Marrow; Written by Tom Balmforth Editing by Andrew Osborn and Nick Macfie
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