By Sean Lyngaas, CNN
(CNN)A Russian businessman who appeared in US court Monday on securities fraud charges could be a valuable asset in US efforts to gather more information on Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as other intelligence operations, former US officials tell CNN.
Former Justice Department and Homeland Security officials say that Vladislav Klyushin‘s Moscow-based cybersecurity firm’s work with the Russian government and Klyushin’s alleged relationship with an ex-Russian GRU military intelligence officer will likely be of keen interest to US law enforcement and intelligence officials.
The Russian businessman, who is in his early 40s, made an appearance in federal court in Massachusetts via videoconference on Monday in what was supposed to be an arraignment hearing. But Klyushin’s US-based lawyer, Maksim Nemtsev, did not file the requisite paperwork for the hearing to proceed, according to Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler. The arraignment hearing is now slated for Wednesday.
US prosecutors have accused Klyushin and four other Russian men of an elaborate insider trading scheme that involved hacking into companies that Tesla and other firms used to file Securities and Exchange Commission reports.
The US government has not publicly connected Klyushin to Russian interference in the 2016 election. But one of Klyushin’s co-defendants in the securities fraud case is Ivan Ermakov, who was one of a dozen GRU officers whom a federal grand jury indicted in 2018 for interfering in the 2016 election by hacking and leaking documents from the Democratic National Committee.
Klyushin’s case is just the latest high-stakes US pursuit of a Russian national with potentially illuminating connections to Russian hacking activity targeting US interests.