Treason charges brought by Russia against a senior Kaspersky Lab executive and two state security officers are linked to claims the men passed state secrets to US companies, it has been claimed.
Ruslan Stoyanov, who headed up the Computer Incidents Investigations Team at Kaspersky, was arrested at the same time as FSB Information Security Centre officers Sergei Mikhailov and Dmitry Dokuchayev in December last year.
Sources connected with the investigation have revealed that the three men stand accused of supplying US network infrastructure firm Verisign and a number of other American companies with confidential government information.
The Kremlin suspects the information eventually ended up in the hands of US intelligence agencies.
Speaking with the Reuters news agency, Russian businessman Pavel Vrublevsky, founder of online payments firm ChronoPay, said the arrests and subsequent investigation into the men’s activities were linked to claims he made back in 2010 that Mikhailov and Stoyanov had handed state secrets to Verisign’s iDefense cyber crime unit and other US firms.
“I can confirm we [Chronopay] expect to be part of this case,” Vrublevsky told Reuters.
“In 2010, we provided the FSB and other important Russian agencies with evidence that at least one FSB employee, as well as several other people, were involved in treason.”
Vrublevsky was arrested and charged with masterminding cyber attacks on rival firms when he first reported his suspicions about Mikhailov and Stoyanov some seven years ago. Now on parole, he says the charges brought against him resulted from information leaked by the two men.
Responding to the allegations, former iDefense analyst Kimberly Zenz said: “Nothing like the arrangement as described by Pavel Vrublevsky ever took place.”
These sentiments were echoed by Verisign Vice President Joshua Ray, who told Reuters he did not believe reports his company had supplied to US government agencies contained any Russian state secrets.
Vrublevsky and another source connected with the investigation also said a fourth person had been detained in connection with the probe. He was identified as Georgy Fomchenkov, although neither source could say how he was connected to the treason allegations.
Stoyanov, Mikhailov and Dokuchayev were arrested at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington, after US security services accused state-backed Russian hackers of interfering in last year’s Presidential election campaign.
Commenting on Stoyanov’s arrest in a statement released last month, Kaspersky Lab said: “The case against this employee does not involve Kaspersky Lab.
“The employee, who is Head of the Computer Incidents Investigation Team, is under investigation for a period predating his employment at Kaspersky Lab.
“We do not possess details of the investigation. The work of Kaspersky Lab’s Computer Incidents Investigation Team is unaffected by these developments.”
Both the FSB and the Kremlin have so far refused to comment on the investigation.