The boss of a Russian payments firm who was jailed last year for organising a cyberattack on a rival's website, has been released early in exchange for helping to build the country's new national payments system, a local journalist has claimed.
Last year ChronoPay co-founder Pavel Vrublevsky was sentenced to two and a half years in a penal colony after being found guilty of hiring botmasters to attack rival processing firm, Assist.
According to blogger Brian Krebs, who has reported on Vrublevsky extensively, the ChronoPay boss was convicted of paying $20,000 to hire the men behind the Festi spam botnet to hit Assist in 2010. The rival's site was knocked out and left airline Aeroflot unable to sell tickets for days, costing the firm millions of dollars.
Yet last week, less than a year after he was sentenced, Vrublevsky was freed. Citing sources, reporter Irek Murtazin says that Vrublevsky was released as part of a deal to help build Russia's new National Payment System.
Murtazin - who covered Vrublevsky's trial for Russain newspaper Novaya Gazeta - says in a blog post (Russian) that the convicted crook was made an "offer he could not refuse".
Russian president Vladimir Putin decided to create a payment system to compete with Visa and MasterCard earlier this year. The move was in response to the American card giants cutting off services to several banks because of US sanctions related to Putin's annexation of the region of Crimea.