Russian authorities on Wednesday arrested and detained Ilya Sachkov, the founder of cybersecurity firm Group-IB, for two months in Moscow on charges of state treason following a search of its office on September 28.
The Russian company, which is headquartered in Singapore, confirmed the development but noted the “reason for the search was not yet clear,” adding “The decentralized infrastructure of Group-IB allows us to keep our customer’s data safe, maintain business operations and work without interruption across our offices in Russia and around the world.”
Group IB said the raids at its Moscow office had commenced on Tuesday, with law enforcement authorities leaving that same evening. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the government was aware of the arrest but that it had no additional details about the case, Russian state news agency TASS reported.
The cybersecurity company relocated to Singapore in late 2018 as part of its attempts to distance itself from any ties to the Russian government. It’s worth noting that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security banned Kaspersky products from all government departments on September 13 2017, alleging that the company had worked on secret projects with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).
Group-IB is known for its assistance in a number of law enforcement operations spanning Europe, often collaborating agencies such as Europol and Interpol on investigations that have led to the arrest of several organized cybercrime groups in recent years, including Fraud Family, Dr HeX, and three Nigerian nationals suspected of perpetrating business email compromise (BEC) scams.
If convicted of treason, Sachkov could be punishable by up to 20 years in prison.