Russian state media say a Russian national sought by the United States for allegedly laundering cryptocurrency tied to ransomware payments has been detained in the Netherlands, according to his lawyer.
The U.S. Justice Department is reportedly requesting the extradition of the suspect, 29-year-old Denis Dubnikov, for allegedly receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of digital currency in connection with cybercrimes by a group that is thought to have extracted tens of millions in ransom.
It has been called one of U.S. law enforcement's first potential blows to the so-called Ryuk ransomware gang suspected in a rash of cyberattacks on U.S. health-care organizations that demanded ransoms and forced delays in potentially lifesaving treatments for cancer and other patients.
Lawyer Arkady Bukh told Russian state-run media that Dubnikov was denied entry when he attempted to go to Mexico for a holiday and he alleged that U.S. authorities were behind his client being put on a plane to the Netherlands earlier this month, where he was detained.
A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment on the case, CNN said.
Bukh told Russian media that Dubnikov "may face up to 20 years in jail. We expect his extradition to the United States."
In October 2020, the FBI and other U.S. agencies warned that Ryuk presented an "imminent" threat to U.S. health-care institutions.
The Wall Street Journal said the Ryuk gang took in more than $100 million in ransom payments last year.