One of the top cybercrime experts at Russia’s biggest cybersecurity firm was arrested on charges of treason last month.
According to Business Insider, Kaspersky Lab confirmed that Ruslan Stoyanov, head of its computer incidents investigations unit, was placed under arrest in December.
In a statement on its website, the company said:
“The case against this employee does not involve Kaspersky Lab. The employee, who is head of the computer incidents investigation team, is under investigation for a period predating his employment at Kaspersky Lab. We do not possess details of the investigation. The work of Kaspersky Lab’s computer incidents investigation team is unaffected by these developments.”
Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported that Stoyanov was arrested alongside a senior Russian FSB intelligence officer, Sergei Mikhailov. Both are facing charges of treason.
Stoyanov allegedly received money from foreign companies, and the case will be filed under a criminal code specifically for those suspected of aiding a foreign state or organization.
“Treason charges are by no means rare, so it is hard to know at this stage what is involved,” Mark Galeotti, a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations specializing in Russian security affairs, told Business Insider. “But simply the suspicion of passing information to foreigners for cash or carelessly might be enough.”
However, Andrei Soldatov, an expert on Russian security services, described the arrest as “unprecedented.”
“It destroys a system that has been 20 years in the making, the system of relations between intelligence agencies and companies like Kaspersky,” Soldatov told AP. “Intelligence agencies used to ask for Kaspersky’s advice, and this is how informal ties were built. This romance is clearly over.”