The U.S. Department of Justice has issued a press release regarding the indictment of twelve Russian nationals who are charged with committing crypto-funded crimes related to interference in the US presidential election of 2016.
The defendants, who were officials in the Russian government’s Main Intelligence Directorate, are being accused of using false identities and using cryptocurrencies to launder funds, a strategy that enabled the group to purchase domains, accounts, and servers in a manner they thought was undetectable.
These funds were used to “hack into the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee, and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.” The obtained information was then released through DCLeaks and a fictitious persona named “Guccifer 2.0.”
The indictment consists of eleven total criminal charges:
Count One alleges a criminal conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States through cyber operations by the GRU that involved the staged release of stolen documents for the purpose of interfering with the 2016 president election;
Counts Two through Nine charge aggravated identity theft for using identification belonging to eight victims to further their computer fraud scheme;
Count Ten alleges a conspiracy to launder money in which the defendants laundered the equivalent of more than $95,000 by transferring the money that they used to purchase servers and to fund other costs related to their hacking activities through cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin; and
Count Eleven charges conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States by attempting to hack into the computers of state boards of elections, secretaries of state, and US companies that supplied software and other technology related to the administration of elections.
The Special Counsel’s investigation is still ongoing and there have been no comments made at this time.