Teen Tries to Blackmail Russian Billionaire
A Russian SWAT team recently stormed the house where a 17-year-old student who was living with his mom, to grab his laptop, after linking the computer to repeated murder-for-hire related extortion attempts.
The teen had allegedly attempted to blackmail Russian businessman Suleiman Kerimov, who is worth roughly $7.8 billion, by sending him emails claiming that he was a hitman ordered to kill the oligarch, but would stop with the killing for $10 million. Kerimov, #146 of Forbes world’s richest, wasn’t playing around, and apparently rallied a task force from Moscow to fly in to St. Petersburg to drop in on the teen at 6 AM last Tuesday. In Russia, one has to have a bit of pull to command this sort of operation, as the government doesn’t mobilize in regards to all crimes. The kid had recently tried to threaten St. Petersburg City Hall’s energy department chief Vladislav Petrov, who was able to track his IP, but was not in the position to rally law enforcement to do anything about it, besides set up a bit of surveillance. When Kerimov received the threats, the operation against the teen became fully orchestrated from the Moscow headquarters, which is said to be a rarity.
While cybercrime in Russia is commonplace, it would seem that one runs into problems if Russian, while trying to extort other Russians. It is evident that after the teen began threatening Kerimov, the billionaire likely got into contact with “someone equal to him in status. It must have been either head of the Federal Security Service, Alexander Bortnikov, or the Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev.”
Either way, the teen, who apparently had no idea what he was doing, was deemed to never have been an actual threat. After confessing to the entire thing, he was charged with extortion, and claimed that he actually thought he was going to get the money. He is currently under house arrest – his offense carries up to four years in a Russian prison.