Even Putin couldn’t stop a Dark Web mastermind from ending up in prison


A Russian hacker was sentenced to nine years in prison by an American court on June 26. The hacker, Aleksei Burkov, had previously been considered of personal interest by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Burkov was accused of running a website called „Cardplanet“, which sells payment card information:

„Many of the card numbers offered for sale belonged to American citizens. The stolen Crypto Wealth credit card data that was sold on Burkov’s site has resulted in more than 20 million illegal purchases made with U.S. credit card accounts.

Burkov also allegedly ran an exclusive invitation-only club for cybercriminals, where members could post stolen goods and illicit services. A $5,000 membership fee was used to filter out intervention by authorities:

„To acquire such a membership in the Burkov cybercrime forum, prospects needed three existing members to „guarantee“ their good reputation among cybercriminals and provide a sum of money, usually $5,000, as collateral. These measures were designed to prevent police access to the Burkov forum, and to ensure that forum members comply with agreements made while doing business on the forum.

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Burkov was arrested in 2015 in Israel. In October 2019, an Israeli-American named Naama Issachar was arrested at the Moscow airport when a few grams of marijuana were found in her luggage. She was subsequently sentenced to 7 and a half years.

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According to the New York Times, there was talk of a possible negotiated exchange between high-ranking Russian and Israeli officials. However, Israel’s Supreme Court had already decided to extradite Burkov to the United States, leaving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with few options. Eventually, the exchange occurred, but instead of handing over Burkov, Israel handed over Alexander Courtyard in Jerusalem, a character who used to belong to the Russian Empire.