Canadian man charged in
Yahoo hack loves fancy cars, parties
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[March 18, 2017]
By Alastair Sharp
HAMILTON, Ontario (Reuters) - The Canadian
charged in connection with a massive hack of Yahoo accounts that the
United States says was a Russian plot is a young man who has boasted on
social media of his wealth and love of expensive cars, online accounts
Karim Baratov, a 22-year-old dual Kazakh-Canadian citizen, is fighting
extradition to face U.S. charges he was paid by Russian intelligence
agents to break into email accounts. The 2014 theft of 500 million Yahoo
Inc accounts was at the time the largest ever such breach.
Speaking by text message, Baratov's lawyer, Amedeo DiCarlo, said on
Friday that his client denies all the allegations. He called Baratov a
"political scapegoat" and added he "is healthy and confident."
Canadian police arrested and detained Baratov on Tuesday in Hamilton,
Ontario. DiCarlo also spoke to reporters outside the Hamilton court
where Baratov was due to appear via video on Friday, adding that a bail
hearing was to be set for April 5.
Baratov was one of four people charged in a U.S. Justice Department
indictment on Wednesday that portrayed Russian security services as
having worked hand-in-hand with cyber criminals in the Yahoo case. U.S.
authorities are seeking his extradition and have up to 60 days to
prepare their case prior to an extradition hearing; until then,
Baratov's arrest is provisional.
Baratov has an extensive presence on social media, especially in online
groups devoted to exotic-car aficionados.
On sites including Facebook and Instagram, photos show him posing in
front of a string of high-end cars bearing his personalized license
He also boasts of having paid off a mortgage while still in high school
and of having sold an internet company for $20 million as a teen.
Reuters has been unable to verify either of those claims, and his lawyer
did not respond to specific queries about them.
[to top of second column]
The John Sopinka Courthouse, where Karim Baratov appeared in front
of a judge, in connection with a U.S. Justice Department
investigation into the 2014 hacking of Yahoo, is pictured in
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada March 15, 2017 . REUTERS/Peter Power
Neighbors said they knew Baratov as a young man who threw parties with
attendees' fancy cars stretching up and down the block.
On his Instagram account, Baratov is seen partying in Toronto nightclubs,
flexing his muscles and talking about workouts and taking supplements.
Silvia, a 66-year-old retired hospital worker who lives around the corner from
Baratov and who declined to give her last name, said that last Halloween he gave
her trick-or-treating grandson and other children a fistful of U.S. dollar
"It was weird," she said.
DiCarlo declined to comment when asked what Baratov did to support his
On Thursday, nobody answered the phone or responded to knocks at the door of the
two-storey house on Chamber Drive in Hamilton, a city 75 kilometers (45 miles)
west of Toronto where Baratov lives.
The Toronto Star newspaper reported that the house had been listed for sale on
Monday for C$930,000 ($698,146) but was abruptly de-listed on Wednesday.
Neighbors said the "For Sale" sign was taken down the same day.
Two men and a woman who arrived at the house on Thursday and said they were
looking to buy the house were shown inside by a man who told Reuters he was
brokering a potential sale.
Baratov lives alone in the three-bedroom house, neighbors said, but his parents
sometimes visit. They said his father, who was there when Baratov was arrested,
helped him move in, in the summer of 2015, and was sometimes was seen shoveling
snow from his son's sidewalk.
(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Writing by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Denny
Thomas and Frances Kerry)
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