The Swiss authorities have allowed the state Prosecutor to issue a warrant for the arrest of two Russians from GRU accused of political espionage and money laundering through crypto-currencies. About it on October 23 wrote to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung.
According to investigators, the alleged officers of special divisions of the Main intelligence Directorate of the General staff of the Russian armed forces (former GRU) was planning to organize a hacker attack on the laboratory of radiological, chemical and bacteriological analysis of the Ministry of defence of Switzerland in Spiez. This laboratory participated in the investigation of poisoning in the English city of Salisbury and Yulia Sergei Skripal. In addition, the Russians, against whom, a criminal case, believed to be involved in the hacker attack on the World anti-doping Agency (WADA) in order to obtain information about doping in Russian sports. The names of the two accused, Alexander Morenets and Evgeny Serebryakov.
Those Russians (and others) the FBI suspects the same operations on the territory of the United States. They allegedly planned to carry out the hacking attack on servers of the nuclear company Westinghouse to supply Ukraine with fuel for nuclear reactors. Americans also accuse them of money laundering with the use of cryptocurrency. In particular, in early October, the Prosecutor of the Western district of Pennsylvania Scott Brady, who was quoted by RIA Novosti, said:
They used a cryptocurrency such as bitcoin, to pay for the infrastructure to implement their plans (e.g., servers, domain registration, services, vendors, and other tools for hacking). Financial transfers occurred at least partly in the territory of the United States.
Under investigation by the Swiss police episode with hacking the database WADA took place in September 2016 in one of the hotels of Lausanne. According to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, a criminal case was opened in March 2017 on the basis of the Swiss intelligence service. In late August the Federal Prosecutor’s office has asked the government permission to arrest suspects and to access them. Now the authorities have allowed the Prosecutor to impose restrictive measures on Russian spies.
As noted by the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, because of the political nature of the case international arrest warrant excluded, however, the Prosecutor’s office of Switzerland can issue national.
The suspects Morenets and Serebryakov had allegedly participated in similar operations, the GRU in the territory of other European countries. So, in April 2018, the Dutch authorities sent Moreneta, Serebryakov and two of their colleagues, because they allegedly planned to commit a cyber attack on the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons.
Recall that on 4 October, the United States, Britain, the Netherlands and Canada have filed charges against a group of Russians suspected that they have committed a number of major cyber attacks on Western countries. Presumably, the defendants, including Morenets and Serebryakov, members working under the auspices of the GRU hacking groups Fancy Bear, and the Tsar Pawnstorm Team.