Accused Yahoo hacker says he’ll live with parents
HAMILTON, Ontario (AP) — A Canadian man accused in a massive hack of Yahoo emails said Wednesday he’ll live with his parents and forgo access to phones and any electronic equipment if he’s allowed out on bail.
Officials allege that Karim Baratov poses an “extremely high flight risk” because of his alleged ties to Russian agents.
But his lawyer Amedeo DiCarlo said that Baratov has never been to Russia and he will not flee if freed on bail. Baratov arrived in court for his bail wearing a black shirt and sweat pants with his legs shackled. His parents provided him with a dress jacket.
“Flight risk is the issue,” DiCarlo told reporters after arriving at the courthouse in a chauffeured Rolls Royce. “We are going to have measures put in place so that is not going to happen.”
Baratov’s parents have agreed to act as their son’s sureties. His father, Akhmet Tokbergenov, has agreed to turn off the internet in the family home if the court requests it.
“Believe me, I will create such conditions that even jail will look like paradise to him,” Tokbergenov said in court through a Russian interpreter.
Baratov, 22, said he registered an internet business in 2014 that made about $81,000 that year registering websites, renting web spaces and protecting web servers from hack attempts. He said he made less in in 2015 and 2016. He was not asked directly about the allegations against him.
U.S. law enforcement officials call Baratov a “hacker-for-hire” paid by Russian Federal Security Service members. He has Kazakh origins, arriving in Canada in 2007 and becoming a citizen in 2011.
Baratov was arrested last month and faces extradition to the U.S. The breach at Yahoo affected at least a half billion user accounts.
He was indicted in the United States for computer hacking along with three other people, including two alleged Russian intelligence agents.
Officials have said Baratov has the money to leave Canada and the ability to destroy evidence related to his alleged activities while on the run.
Prosecutor Heather Graham said police seized about $22,000 from his home and another $670 from his wallet when he was arrested.
Baratov said he had virtually nothing in his bank accounts and testified that he largely financed a string of luxury cars that included a Lamborghini Diablo, an Austin Martin and a Mercedes Benz. He said half of the money he paid for the cars came from his parents. He also said half the $95,000 down payment on a three-bedroom house came from his parents.