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Ryan praises Czech gov’t for Nikulin’s extradition to USA

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Washington, March 31 (CTK) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan has praised the Czech cabinet on Twitter for having extradited suspected Russian hacker Yevgenyi Nikulin to the USA, and said negotiations about it were the key issue within his talks in Prague last week.

Based on Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikan’s decision, Nikulin, whose extradition was also sought by Russia, was transferred to the USA last night. He was questioned by a San Francisco court later on Friday.

Ryan tweeted that the Russian hacker violated the U.S. law and his extradition was the key issue he debated in Prague. He is pleased at the Czech government having decided this way.

The extradition of Nikulin, 30, has aroused interest of U.S. media which speculate on whether he might assist in the ongoing investigation into suspected Russian influencing of U.S. elections.

According to the McClatchyDC news agency, Nikulin’s extradition may be of a breakthrough importance as the USA might gain information about Russian-masterminded cyber attacks in exchange for an agreement on a possible punishment of Nikulin.

The information about Nikulin’s extradition has also been welcomed by Andrew Schapiro, former U.S. ambassador in Prague.

He tweeted that the arrest of Nikulin in Prague in October 2016 was a wonderful example of cooperation between the FBI and Czech bodies.

The rule of law has won today, wrote Schapiro, who was ambassador when Nikulin was arrested in Prague based on a warrant issued by Washington, which suspects him of a hacking attack on the LinkedIn and Formspring social networks and the Dropbox storage server in 2012-13.

Schapiro left the post in Prague after Donald Trump took up U.S. presidency last year.

Schapiro tweeted that after Nikulin’s arrest in Prague, Russia quickly lodged its own false application for his extradition in an effort to see him sent back to Moscow.

The USA and Russia both sought Nikulin’s extradition, but Pelikan preferred meeting the U.S. request, which, he said on Friday, he considered more founded than Moscow’s one.

The Russian embassy in Washington plans to contact Nikulin with the aim to take all necessary measures to protect his legal rights, and it also wants to address Nikulin’s defence lawyer, the Russian press agency TASS wrote on Saturday, citing the embassy’s statement on Friday.

Russian Duma deputy Viktor Vodolacky has told the RIA Novosti agency that the Czech extradition of Nikulin to the USA aims to “further deteriorate” Czech-Russian relations.

He said the decision can be considered a step hostile to Russia and its citizens.

“In any case, the Czech Foreign Ministry should have informed the Russian side – the Russian embassy – about its step,” said Vodolacky, who heads the Duma’s committee for the CIS, Euro-Asian integration and Russian expatriates.

Facing a San Francisco court on Friday, Nikulin pleaded not guilty.

If convicted, he might reportedly face more than 30 years in prison and a fine of over one million dollars.


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