The 22-year-old Ancaster, Ont., man agreed to forgo extradition in court on Friday, which also meant he was waiving any protections.
HAMILTON—Accused Yahoo hacker Karim Baratov is waiving his Canadian rights, forgoing extradition, to go straight to the United States to face prosecution.
During a brief court appearance in Hamilton Friday morning the 22-year-old Ancaster, Ont., man agreed to the waiver, which Superior Court Justice Andrew Goodman cautioned meant he’s also waiving any protections.
Baratov agreed, signing three copies of the waiver in front of the judge, before being led away. “Good luck Mr. Baratov,” Goodman said.
“Thank you,” Baratov replied, ending what is his last court appearance in Canada. His lawyer Amedeo DiCarlo said outside court that waiving extradition is “the quickest route to the U.S. so we can continue our discussions there.”
He couldn’t detail what is happening with negotiations in the U.S., which have been ongoing since March, but described them as “fruitful.” “I’m pretty confident the consent route was the wrong way to go and the waiver was the right way to go,” he said.
Had Baratov, a Canadian citizen born in Kazakhstan, consented to extradition, that process would have taken longer but would have limited the U.S. to the initial indictment. By waiving his rights, he will head straight to the U.S., but is open to the risk of facing additional charges.
A court order in the U.S. is already in place and a U.S. marshal is expected to come transport Baratov, to the State of California (likely San Francisco), as soon as possible, DiCarlo said.
Baratov is “excited” for the change of scenery and to see progression on the case, he said. DiCarlo said he was forbidden from revealing any details of U.S. negotiations, but did say they’ve “narrowed down timelines.”
There have been “suggestions (it) could take months and years, but that’s not going to happen,” he said, adding that everyone is working to resolve the matter faster.
Baratov was arrested at his Ancaster home on March 14 after U.S. authorities charged him with aggravated identity theft and conspiring to commit fraud, in connection with a hacking scheme allegedly organized by Russian intelligence agents.
He was denied bail in Canada because he is considered a flight risk. Unable to get Baratov out of jail, DiCarlo turned his focus to the U.S. negotiations. DiCarlo maintains Baratov is “a small fish” in the whole scheme, said to have involved breaching about 500 million Yahoo email accounts used for political or financial gain.
By waiving extradition, Baratov is not admitting any guilt, he said.