Russian-Morrocan hacker Farid Essebar, known online as Diabl0, was arrested in Bangkok at the request of law enforcement authorities from Switzerland who want him extradited to face charges in connection with computer fraud offenses and credit card information theft.
Authorities in Thailand had been tracking Essebar and three of his associates for two years as they travelled to tourist destinations around the country and abroad to Hong Kong, daily newspaper The Bangkok Post reported Tuesday.
Essebar was arrested in Thailand on March 11 following an extradition request made by the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) on Sept. 17, 2013, confirmed Ingrid Ryser, a spokeswoman for the FOJ, Wednesday via email. The extradition request was based on an arrest warrant issued by the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (Ministère public de la Confédération) for computer fraud, she said.
The Swiss attorney general’s office confirmed that the arrest in Thailand is related to a credit card phishing case opened against several individuals.
Essebar is suspected to have compromised computer systems and websites belonging to Swiss banks, causing damages of over US$4 billion, The Bangkok Post reported citing an official with the Thai Ministry of Justice’s Department of Special Investigation.
Jeannette Balmer, a spokeswoman for the Swiss attorney general’s office, did not confirm a specific amount, but said in email that “the sums involved are considerable.”
Essebar was arrested before, in 2005, along with two other individuals, for offenses related to the creation and distribution of Zotob, a computer worm that infected systems running Windows 2000 and XP worldwide, including those of over 100 U.S. companies and news organizations. He was sentenced to two years in prison by a Morrocan court in 2006 for conspiracy, theft, using forged credit cards and illegal access to computer systems, according to an FBI press release at the time.