Vladislav Klyushin, a Russian businessman with ties to the Kremlin, was extradited from Switzerland to the U.S. on Saturday.
The Swiss justice ministry said U.S. police officers accompanied Klyushin on a flight from Zurich to the U.S., where he faces charges of insider trading, according to Reuters.
Russia has slammed the move, calling it part of the ongoing “hunt” for Russians.
“We must note that we are dealing with yet another case of Washington’s ongoing ‘hunt’ for Russian citizens in third countries,” Vladimir Khokhlov, a spokesperson for the Russian embassy in Switzerland, told the Tass news agency.
Klyushin was detained in March at the request of U.S. authorities after flying into Switzerland on a private jet for a family ski trip. Swiss courts rejected multiple bids to free him.
Klyushin owns M13, a Moscow-based company that offers media monitoring and cyber-security services that have reportedly been used by the Kremlin.
He is accused of insider trading worth tens of millions of dollars with several accomplices, after allegedly hacking into U.S. companies to steal confidential data.
Klyushin’s lawyer Oliver Ciric told Newsweek on Sunday that his client believes the charges against him were a pretext to get him to the U.S.
“Based on the evidence we’ve got, we have good reason to consider that the official charges against Vladislav Klyushin are a pretext to get his extradition to the U.S.,” he said.
“The real reason appears to be the nature of his business and government contracts in Russia. We consistently argued this before the Swiss courts but they refuse to consider them, considering that the U.S. justice system is without flows and guarantees objective and impartial approach towards this case. We don’t consider that Vladislav has had a fair trial in Switzerland.”
Ciric said he has filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights.
He added that he believes Klyushin will likely be charged with leading an operation by Russia’s secretive GRU military intelligence agency to influence the 2016 presidential election.
One of Klyushin’s employees, Ivan Yermakov, was among the 12 alleged GRU agents indicted in the U.S. in 2018 for hacking into the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Yermakov is also indicted alongside Klyushin in the insider trading case, Ciric said.
Klyushin has a “wealth of information” about Russian interference in the 2016 election, Bloomberg reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.
The Russian embassy in the U.S. and the U.S. Justice Department have been contacted for additional comment.