Eleven people arrested earlier this week for their alleged involvement in a computer hacking and money laundering scheme were denied bail today. The actions were mirrored in the US, where the Department of Justice said Thursday that it had made arrests in connection with the Zeus botnets as well.
District Judge Alan Baldwin of Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court in London said some of the defendants were flight risks. Their cases have been referred to Southwark Crown Court. More serious criminal cases are referred to crown courts rather than held in magistrates' courts in the UK.
The defendants include Yuriy Korovalenko, 28, of Ukraine; Yevhen Kulibaba, 32, of Ukraine; Aleksander Kusner, 27, of Estonia; Roman Zenyk, 29, of Ukraine; Eduard Babaryka, 26, of Belarus; Valerij Milka, 29, of Ukraine; Iryna Prakochyk, 23, of Ukraine; Ivars Poikans, 29, of Latvia; Kaspars Cliematnieks, 24, of Latvia; and Karina Kostromina, 33, from Latvia.
All have been charged with conspiracy to defraud. Eight were also charged with money laundering except for Valerij and Prakochyk. An 11th defendant, Zurab Revazishvili, 34, of Georgia, was also denied bail in court on Thursday. He is scheduled to appear in Westminster Magistrates' Court on October 28. Revazishvili is charged with violating the UK's Identity Cards Act.
In addition to the 11 people who appeared in court on Thursday, nine more were arrested but released on bail after raids conducted on Tuesday by UK authorities.
The gang allegedly ran a money-laundering network from funds stolen over the last year or so from customers of banks including HSBC, RBS, Barclays and Lloyds, according to the UK's Police Central e-Crime Unit. The money was stolen by infecting customers' PCs with Zeus, an advanced piece of malicious software used to transfer funds to their own accounts.
The group allegedly made £6 million in one three month period by infecting PCs with a variant of the Zeus Trojan.