Karim Baratov, Canadian charged in Yahoo email hack, will fight extradition to U.S.

Karim Baratov, Canadian charged in Yahoo email hack, will fight extradition to U.S.

Lawyers for the Canadian man charged in a massive hack of Yahoo emails hope to get their client released on bail and said they plans to fight his extradition to the United States.

Karim Baratov, 22, of Ancaster, Ont., faces charges laid by the U.S. Justice Department related to computer hacking, economic espionage and several other offences. The case involves a data breach that impacted at least a half billion user accounts.

Baratov is at the beginning of what could be a lengthy process to determine whether he is extradited to the U.S.

He appeared in Hamilton bail court today via video link. Baratov was wearing glasses and an orange short sleeved jumpsuit. His bail hearing date was set for April 5.

Lawyers for Baratov wanted the judge to impose a publication ban to protect his right to a fair hearing both here and in the U.S., but Judge Kim Carpenter-Gunn said said it was premature.

The accused's Deepak Paradkar asked for a Russian interpreter for Baratov's father, who may seek to be a surety for his son. Any sureties would be parties to the hearing. 

'Caught up in a cyber media frenzy'

Another of Baratov's lawyers, Amedeo DiCarlo, said outside court and prior to the hearing that he wanted the publication ban because he is concerned about "interference that would jeopardize my client's rights to a speedy release and fair trial."

He said Baratov is healthy and confident.

In a statement, the lawyer said: "The social media and USA have made great efforts to distort the truth of who Karim Baratov is, and as has already been stated, we consider to be a political scapegoat!

"He is a smart and successful 22-year-old who is caught up in a cyber media frenzy full of unfounded allegations. We are more than confident the public will have all the answers they need."

DiCarlo took issue with comments from friends that had appeared in the media this week in the wake of Baratov's arrest.

"Anything and everything you've heard up till now has been unfounded," he said. "He was not a secretive person; he was open to the public."

Asked where his client's money came from, as evidenced by his house and his expensive cars.

"I can't disclose that information," DiCarlo said.

Baratov charges

Officials said the hack targeted email accounts of Russian and U.S. officials, Russian journalists, and employees of financial services and other businesses.

Two Russian intelligence officers and a fourth man, who lived in the U.S. but fled to Russia, also face charges.

Baratov is charged with conspiring to commit computer fraud and abuse, conspiring to commit access device fraud, conspiring to commit wire fraud and eight counts of aggravated identity theft. 

Baratov was arrested in Ancaster on Tuesday. The dual Canadian-Kazakh national lived alone in a large three-bedroom house in the tony Meadowlands area.

Baratov is the youngest of the four men accused. He's the only one who lives outside of Russia. Russia doesn't have an extradition treaty with the U.S.

Neighbours say he mostly kept to himself, save for a few house parties a year. He also paraded high-end, colourful cars through the quiet subdivision streets and on his various social media accounts.

"We guessed, 'What did he do? Maybe sell cars?'" a neighbour said this week. "Or maybe he sells [houses]? I don't know."