VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — A court in Lithuania on Thursday requested more information from the United States before ruling on the extradition of a local businessman suspected of tricking Google and Facebook out of more than $100 million in an elaborate cybercrime case.
Evaldas Rimasauskas was arrested in March at the request of U.S. authorities, who accuse the 48-year-old of wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. He could face a lengthy prison sentence if convicted by a U.S. court.
Rimasauskas allegedly conned the internet giants into wiring him large sums by posing as one of their suppliers, an Asian computer hardware manufacturer, and convincing them to accept fraudulent invoices.
Google said it detected the fraud and promptly alerted the authorities. “We recouped the funds and we’re pleased this matter is resolved,” the company said in a statement.
Facebook said it also recovered the bulk of the funds shortly after the incident, adding that it “has been cooperating with law enforcement in its investigation.”
“This case should serve as a wake-up call to all companies — even the most sophisticated — that they too can be victims of phishing attacks by cyber criminals,” said Joon H. Kim, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Rimasauskas, who owns small construction company, denies the charges against him.
“I know how to use basic computer programs, but have no idea about programming. I do not speak English” he told Lithuanian daily Lietuvos Rytas. “I hope Lithuania will take care of its citizen and will not blindly follow instructions from a foreign country,” he was quoted as saying.
“My client cannot expect a fair and impartial trial in the United States,” his lawyer, Linas Kuprusevicius, told reporters. He also claimed the U.S. extradition request was missing key information.
The court extended Rimasauskas’ detention for three months.
Frank Jordans contributed to this report from Berlin.
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