France starts extradition process in massive US fraud case

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French authorities launched extradition proceedings Friday for a Moscow-based suspect US authorities believe was at the centre of a massive Internet credit card fraud ring.

Vladislav Horohorin, a 27-year-old dual Israeli and Ukrainian national, was arrested on Saturday in the southern French city of Nice on a US warrant as he prepared to board a flight to Moscow.

French judges have asked American prosecutors to provide evidence against him and have 40 days to decide whether to grant the extradition request. The suspect is being held at a jail in the southern town of Luynes.

The US Justice Department has accused Horohorin of being one of the founders of CarderPlanet, an Internet forum for selling stolen credit card information.

He was indicted by a US federal grand jury in November 2009 on charges of access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. If convicted on all counts, he could face 12 years in prison and fines of 500,000 dollars.

On Wednesday, US Secret Service Assistant Director for Investigations Michael Merritt said the CarderPlanet network "remains one of the most sophisticated organisations of online financial criminals in the world."

"This network has been repeatedly linked to nearly every major intrusion of financial information reported to the international law enforcement community."

Using the alias "BadB", Horohorin allegedly advertised stolen credit card data on the web, receiving payments through Internet financial services, including "Webmoney", an online currency service hosted in Russia.

© 2010 AFP

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