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Russia frees jailed card exec to build national payment system - report

04 June 2014  |  7696 views  |  4 Moscow skyline

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.

Comments: (4)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 05 June, 2014, 11:06

Is anyone even surprised any more?

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 05 June, 2014, 15:50 Wow. Hiring an ex-con is bound to result in a highly secure payment network with no loopholes to exploit. What a smart move. Maybe they should hire Nick Leeson and get him to work on designing a trading system while they are at it. They'll probably use the same auditors as Enron...
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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 05 June, 2014, 16:12

ot just an ex-con, but one who "allegedly" ran a huge spam scam selling fake pharmaceuticals. I confidently predict the new Russian card scheme will be extremely e-commerce friendly. At least as far as dodgy merchants are concerned.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 06 June, 2014, 09:22

I love that all these comments are anonymous.

Is everyone worried about any red consequences?

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