A Russian MP claims the US kidnapped his son from the Maldives on bogus cyber-fraud charges and may be preparing to offer him as bait in a swap deal for Edward Snowden.
Roman Seleznyov, 30, was arrested at Male international airport as he was about to board a flight to Moscow. He was forced by US secret service agents to board a private plane to Guam and was later arrested. The Russian ministry slammed his detention as “a de-facto kidnapping.”
Moscow considers the kidnapping “a new hostile move by Washington,” and accused the US of ignoring proper procedure in dealing with foreign nationals suspected of crimes.
In an interview to RT Russian MP Valery Seleznyov, Roman’s father pointed to the illegality of the US kidnap.
“For all I know they may be demanding a ransom tomorrow. Or try to exchange him for [NSA whistleblower Edward] Snowden or somebody. One can only wonder.”
He cannot contact his son and claims American authorities are denying Roman his rights.
“They took him to Guam because American law is not fully applicable there,” the lawmaker explained.
The MP said that his son has scant computer skills and could not be involved in any sort of hacking.
The US Secret Service and the Dept of Justice announced Monday that Roman Seleznyov was indicted on charges including identity theft, bank fraud, illegally accessing information on protected computers and trafficking in unauthorized access devices.
He is charged with stealing and selling US citizens’ credit card data between 2009 and 2011. The Secret Service called Seleznyov “one of the world’s most prolific traffickers of stolen financial information”.
Seleznyov was among those injured by a 2011 bomb blast in Marrakech, Morocco.
The US has a record of taking drastic steps when it wants people held in custody. The methods may vary from the widely-criticized practice of “extraordinary rendition,” or the blatant kidnappings of terror suspects during the Bush era, to putting pressure on foreign governments to allow American agents a free hand on their soil.