Baratov waived his right to an extradition hearing Friday in Hamilton court
Karim Baratov, the 22-year-old charged in connection with an American probe into a Yahoo hacking operation, has waived an extradition hearing and will soon head to the U.S. in the custody of U.S. marshals.
His lawyer, Amadeo DiCarlo, said waiving the hearing was the "quickest route into the U.S." and that today's court appearance would be Baratov's last in Canada. "We're anxious to get him down there," he said prior to the appearance in Hamilton court Friday.
"The court order is already in place to have the marshals come up to pick up Karim." DiCarlo said that could happen as early as Friday, but likely within two weeks.
"Today is only to address the judge and indicate our decision, and I think that will be the last of the process here in Canada." The decision to waive the extradition hearing speeds up his opportunity to address the charges.
In court, Baratov smiled as he talked quietly with DiCarlo. He signed a waiver regarding his extradition rights in the judge's presence. With that, Justice Andrew Goodman ordered Baratov transferred to U.S. custody.
"Good luck, Mr. Baratov," he said. "Thank you," Baratov said. U.S. authorities allege Baratov, from suburban Ancaster, Ont., was a "hacker for hire" with Russian ties. But Canada has to surrender Baratov to the U.S. for him to face charges there.
'Let's get some lawyers and let's move on with this'
Baratov just wants to go deal with the charges in the U.S. as quickly as possible, DiCarlo said.
"Go there, finish it there, let's get some lawyers and let's move on with this," DiCarlo told CBC News last Friday. "Keeping him here, I think, is just going to waste more time."
Baratov had two choices once he decided to bypass an extradition hearing to expedite having the charges dealt with in the U.S: waiving the process entirely or consenting to the extradition.
Goodman reminded Baratov in court Friday that waiving the extradition — essentially turning himself over to American authorities — could open him to any additional charges the U.S. decides to bring.
Consenting to the extradition would have given Canada's justice minister up to 90 days to sign off on transferring Baratov to the U.S., but would have ensured he'd face only the charges of the indictment already released in March.
"But we've had some fruitful discussions with the U.S.; I'm pretty confident the 'consent' route was the wrong way to go," DiCarlo said after the proceeding. "The waiver was the right way to go." The indictment was filed in a San Francisco federal court, but DiCarlo said it's too early to say where in California Baratov will stand trial.
Held without bail since March 14
Baratov was arrested March 14 in Hamilton under the Extradition Act after U.S. authorities indicted him and three others for computer hacking, economic espionage and other crimes.
Baratov has been held without bail since his arrest after an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled in April that he was too much of a flight risk to be released prior to an extradition hearing.
Yahoo said last September that information from at least 500 million user accounts had been stolen in a cyberattack two years earlier. Baratov is accused of hacking 80 Yahoo accounts, and if convicted, faces 20 years in a U.S. prison.
The U.S. also charged two Russian intelligence officers and a fourth man. Baratov's lawyers have said their client had no idea who he was dealing with, or exactly what he was doing.
The FBI documents submitted to secure his arrest in Canada paint a false picture, DiCarlo said.