The Russian Foreign Ministry has described the actions of Maldivian authorities as “outraging” after the US secret service apprehended Russian citizen Roman Seleznyov at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport on Saturday (July 5).
The US Department of Homeland Security has confirmed that Seleznyov was arrested after having been indicted for hacking into point of sale systems at retailers throughout the United States between October 2009 and February 2011.
As well as accusing the US of kidnapping Seleznyov – the son of Russian MP Valery Seleznyov, Russian diplomats have been quoted as condemning the role of the Maldives.
“The stance of Maldives’ authorities cannot be but outraging, since despite the existing international legislation norms they allowed another country’s special service to kidnap a Russian citizen and take him out of the country,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“We demand that the Maldives’ government provides necessary explanations,” officials told Russian news agency ITAR-TASS.
Russian diplomats also said that the US had confirmed Seleznyov had been put on a private jet by US officials and taken to the US Pacific Ocean territory of Guam.
Seleznyov’s father told ITAR-TASS today that any charges should have been brought through the Maldives’ courts.
“At present, it is the same for me whether Roman Seleznyov is guilty or not. But if American authorities had real evidence of his implication in the crime, they should have brought some charges through the Maldives’ court,” said the MP.
“No one had the right to take him anywhere without the sanction issued by the Maldives’ court. And here many questions to law enforcement agencies of the Maldives arise,” Valery Seleznyov was quoted as saying.
The US government has described the detainee as “one of the world’s most prolific traffickers of stolen information”, noting that the arrest “reflects the hard work by the U.S. Secret Service and our interagency and international partners”
The statement from the Department of Homeland Security did not reveal details of Seleznyov’s arrest, with no mention made of the Maldives.
“This important arrest sends a clear message: despite the increasingly borderless nature of transitional organized crime, the long arm of justice – and this Department – will continue to disrupt and dismantle sophisticated criminal organizations,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.
Speaking during a celebration to mark US independence day earlier this week, Maldives Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon pledged continued assistance to the US in suppressing terrorism, organised crimes, drug trafficking, and other security issues.
Dunya also thanked the US for previous assistance in these areas.
The US granted Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System – or PISCES – came into use in the Maldives last year after a deal with Malaysian IT firm Nexbis was terminated.
The system – cited by local media as flagging the arrival of Seleznyov in the country – was criticised by the outgoing Malaysian firm as being no more than a “terrorist tracking system”.
Minivan News was unable to obtain comment from immigration or police officials at the time of publication.