Governance & Risk Management , IT Risk Management

Moscow Court Convicts Former Group-IB Chief for Treason

Ilya Sachkov Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison
Moscow Court Convicts Former Group-IB Chief for Treason
Ilya Sachkov (Image: Group-IB)

A Russian court sentenced cybersecurity firm Group-IB co-founder Ilya Sachkov on Wednesday to more than a dozen years in prison in a case that state-run media says stems from delivering classified material to foreign intelligence.

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Russian authorities first detained Sachkov, 37, in September 2021. Kremlin news agency Tass said the Moscow City Court found Sachkov guilty of high treason and imposed a sentence of 14 years in a maximum security prison. Sachkov maintains his innocence.

Group-IB defended its former CEO, issuing a statement that says "all the materials of the case are kept classified, with all hearings held in complete secrecy with no public scrutiny. As a result, we might never know the pretext for his conviction."

Bloomberg reported in December 2021 that the charges against Sachkov may stem from information he gave to the U.S. government regarding efforts by Russian military intelligence to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Sachkov worked to reduce the company's dependence on the Kremlin, the newswire also reported.

The cybersecurity firm officially withdrew from the Russian market in April after moving its global headquarters to Singapore in 2019.

Group-IB's remaining Russian business renamed itself F.A.C.C.T. Its CEO, Valery Baulin, released a statement supporting Sachkov, calling his conviction and sentencing "a dark moment for all of us and a dark day for the cybersecurity market."

The company said Sachkov's defense team intends to appeal the verdict and to petition Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A year before his arrest, Sachkov criticized the country's authorities over their rhetoric on cybercrime and cybersecurity. "When the whole world says that Mr. Maxim Yakubets, a hacker who drives around in Moscow in a Lamborghini with BOP numbers, is a computer criminal, the creator of the Dridex virus, every engineer in the world knows about it. Not a single Russian state body responded to this in any way," Sachkov said at the time. "Maxim stays in Moscow, continues to drive his luxury car, and believe me, this affects the image of Russian cybersecurity companies."

In February 2019, Sachkov received a "Big Business" award at the Kremlin in a ceremony with Putin.

About the Author

Mihir Bagwe

Mihir Bagwe

Principal Correspondent, Global News Desk, ISMG

Bagwe previously worked at CISO magazine, reporting the latest cybersecurity news and trends and interviewing cybersecurity subject matter experts.

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