|A Czech court ruled Tuesday that a Russian man who faces charges of hacking computers at American companies can be extradited either to the United States or Russia — and the suspect immediately appealed his possible extradition to the United States.
Czech authorities arrested Yevgeniy Nikulin in Prague on Oct. 5 in cooperation with the FBI after Interpol issued an international warrant. He is accused of hacking computers and stealing information from LinkedIn, Dropbox and other companies.
Moscow also wants him extradited on a separate charge of internet theft in 2009. Russian officials had previously said they were working to prevent his extradition to the U.S.
Judge Jaroslav Pytloun ruled Tuesday that the extradition requests from both countries meet all the necessary legal conditions.
The 29-year-old has denied wrongdoing.
"I'm innocent," Nikulin said through a translator at the hearing Tuesday. "I haven't done anything illegal. I have nothing to do with that."
Nikulin appealed his extradition to the United States. He has three days to decide if he will agree to being extradited to Russia.
Justice Minister Robert Pelikan will have the final say on where Nikulin goes after Prague's High Court decides on his appeal.
Nikulin's defense lawyers have rejected the U.S. charges, saying they are based on one FBI agent, and suggested the U.S. was seeking him for political reasons — to use him as a pawn in the investigation into alleged Russian hacking in the U.S. election.