Could a Russian Credit Card Hacker Hold the Keys to a Donald Trump Indictment?

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Deep in the darkest parts of the internet exists a drama so great that it rises to a level typically only found in Hollywood films…. or perhaps a level currently only seen within U.S. politics. Yes, I am talking about the current Donald Trump drama that has ensued since his inauguration.

While there is plenty of speculation from both sides of the aisle on whether or not Trump’s administration colluded with the Russians in order to influence our democratic election process or not, one thing is for certain; an investigation is taking place.

Let’s backtrack a little bit and take a peak into the deep, dark depth of the underground criminal internet. If you go back to 2011, a Russian computer hacker named Roman Seleznev (Роман Селезнев) was indicted for hacking into servers within the United States in order to steal credit card data. In all, he stole over 2 million credit card numbers which in turn resulted in losses of over $170 million. Seleznev put malware onto credit card processing systems of restaurants and other businesses in the U.S., and then sold the data he collected to international criminals world-wide on now defunct websites such as carder.su.

Where this story really gets interesting is that Seleznev’s father, Valery Seleznev happens to be a member of the Duma (Russia’s parliament), and has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. And it is a phone conversation that Roman and Valery had back in December of 2015 that shows that Valery had some knowledge of connections between Putin and Donald Trump well before the election took place or Trump established himself as a real front-runner. This conversation happened almost immediately after Roman Seleznev found out that a key motion, that he had hoped would set him free, got turned down.  The conversation went as follows, according to court transcripts:

Valery: “You can be mad, but don’t go wild with rage.”
Roman: “No, I mean I need to keep going to go to the trial. I will keep going.”
Valery: “Absolutely.”
Roman: “Yes.”
Valery: “Besides, the relationships between the countries can improve. You know what I mean?”
Roman: “That’s what I am hoping for.”
Valery: “Well, they will get better, I am sure about that.”
Roman: “Well, some day they will get better for sure.” [Laughs]
Valery: “No, I think that they are already better.”
Roman: “Really?”
Valery: “Uh-huh.”
Roman: “OK, OK.”
Valery: “Yes.”

This conversation took place well after the Russian hackers first infiltrated the DNC’s network, and shortly after Michael Flynn was in Moscow for a conference in which he was spotted sitting next to Vladimir Putin for dinner.

Did Valery, who has close ties to Putin, know something back then? Is it possible that he assumed the Russian government would have enough influence to help Donald Trump win the election? Did Putin and Trump discuss some sort of agreement for returning Roman Seleznev back to Russia where he could stand trial or ultimately serve a lesser sentence? It’s hard to say, but Valery apparently knew something.

So here we are, almost a year and a half after that cryptic conversation between the two Seleznevs, and Roman has been sentenced to 27-years in prison — the largest ever for a hacking violation in the United States. There are two facts that we can pull from this story. 1) Valery Seleznev has close ties to Putin, and appears to have known something about Russian/U.S. relations prior to the general public and 2) Valery would love to have his son freed or returned to Russia.

Could prosecutors looking into the Trump/Russia investigations use Roman Seleznev to get information out of Valery? The answer, if Valery knows something of value, is YES!

According to Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the United States could offer some sort of deal to Roman and Valery Seleznev which could either free or reduce the sentence, in exchange for information about the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia (if it exists).

In accordance with Rule 35(1), “the court may reduce a sentence [within one year of sentencing] if the defendant, after sentencing, provided substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting another person.”

This of course would require Valery Seleznev to leave Russia, as he would certainly come under attack by Putin supporters for providing information that could incriminate the Russian government. That would be the tricky part, but it definitely is not impossible. If Valery really does have information that could free his son, would he side with his country or with his own blood? That’s a question that may hold the key to making an eventual Trump indictment easier on prosecutors.

Undoubtedly there are other source of information out there, including everything else held by the FBI, NSA, and CIA in regards to possible collusion, but if you are able to convince a Russian official with close ties to Putin to testify, that would do wonders for the prosecution’s case.

  • This may be his death sentence.

  • Steven Geller

    What the Hell is this?
    1. There is no proof that Russia hacked the DNC or Podesta’s e-mails.
    2. Even if they did, it is commonplace for a country to try to influence another country’s election through propaganda or other means. The US does it all the time. The only way in which this aspect of the story would really be a scandal is if Russia changed votes electronically.
    3. It was “unfair” that inside conversations within the Democratic Party were exposed to the public, but if the content wasn’t dripping with corruption and hubris to make the DNC look terrible, it wouldn’t have mattered. All that was exposed was the truth (if not “the whole truth,” since undoubtedly the RNC also engaged in and said some horrible things that weren’t leaked). And this is all not to mention that Hillary should have had a 20 point lead and not been susceptible to these distractions. The fact that with her giant resume, infrastructure, media, party and experience advantages, she was still tied in all of the swing states with the most disliked, unprepared, unqualified candidate in history was her own fault, not some external force.
    3. This conversation between the Seleznev’s is the most vague thing ever. They don’t discuss the upcoming election, they’re not even necessarily discussing politics. Also, few in December 2015 believed that Trump would win (at any level beyond just wishful thinking).
    4. It’s not illegal for Trump and Putin to have had a friendship or for Flynn to have been seated at a dinner with Putin. Is that the dinner that Dr. Stein was also at, to celebrate RT? Trump has businesses throughout the world, it is not uncommon at all to think he knows and is friendly with many world leaders. None of this really has anything to do with grounds for impeachment. So Roman talking to the FBI and saying that Putin was rooting for Trump or even had plans to help Trump is not giving us any new information. This article completely misunderstands what the scandal is.

    Here is what would make this story reach a legitimate threshold of impeachment: If it is proven that Trump leveraged public policy (lifting sanctions) so that Russia would pay off his personal debt. If Trump knew when he hired Flynn that Flynn was on Turkey’s payroll and then he changed the orders for our raid in order to protect Turkey’s interests over the US’s. If Trump has been money laundering for Russian oligarchs or mobsters. Or if it is proven that Trump willfully tried to obstruct justice and/or tamper with potential witnesses in the Comey investigation. And then it would be up to the whim of a mostly friendly Republican Congress, so none of it might matter regardless. But “proof of collusion with Russia” is nothing.

    • Dawg

      So, you have access to the evidence, troll? Why do you think fake e-mails from Wikileaks, via Russia, were real?