Russian computer programmer held in Spain ‘under US warrant’

Pyotr Levashov reportedly suspected of being involved in hacking attacks linked to alleged interference in 2016 election

A Russian computer programmer has been arrested in Barcelona, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Madrid said on Sunday.

It was unclear why Pyotr Levashov was arrested. The embassy spokesman declined to give details and Spanish police and the interior ministry were not available for comment.

RT, the Russian government-backed television channel, reported that Levashov had been arrested under a US international arrest warrant and was suspected of being involved in hacking attacks linked to alleged interference in last years US election.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the criminal division of the US justice department, said: 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 cyber crimes. A justice department official said it was a criminal matter without an apparent national security connection.

Spanish authorities notified the Russian embassy of Levashovs arrest on Friday, the embassy spokesman said.

In January Spanish police arrested another Russian programmer, whose name was given as Lisov and who was wanted by the US for leading a financial fraud network.

The US government has formally accused Russia of hacking Democratic party emails to help the campaign of Donald Trump, then the Republican nominee and now the 45th president. Congressional committees and the FBI are examining links between Russia and Trump.

Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have repeatedly denied that Russia tried to influence the US election.

RT has the specific mission to counter the narrative of the so-called mainstream media and often does not even attempt balanced coverage of global events.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/10/russian-computer-programmer-held-in-spain-under-us-warrant