Canadian sentenced for ransomware attacks extradited to U.S. to face more charges

A Canadian man and a Ukrainian citizen have been extradited to the U.S. to face trial over alleged ransomware attacks.

The Canadian, Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins, 34, of Gatineau, Quebec, is a former federal employee arrested in January, when police also seized some 719 Bitcoin, valued at approximately $28 million, and $790,000 in Canadian currency allegedly traceable to criminal offences.

His extradition this week comes after he pleaded guilty last month to participating in an organized crime group, two counts of extortion and committing mischief to data relating to his activities for the Netwalker ransomware gang

He will face charges in Florida for conspiracy to commit computer fraud and wire fraud, intentional damage to a protected computer, and transmitting a demand in relation to damaging a protected computer as part of the Netwalker ransomware gang.

The Ukrainian is Yaroslav Vasinskyi, 22, accused of deploying the Sodinokibi/REvil ransomware on a number of companies including the July, 2021 attack against IT management provider Kaseya. He was arrested last November in Poland.

He will face charges in Texas: conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with computers, damage to protected computers, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

“As exemplified by the seizure of cryptocurrency by our Canadian partners, we will use all legally available avenues to pursue seizure and forfeiture of the alleged proceeds of ransomware, whether located domestically or abroad,” U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said in a statement on Vachon-Desjardins’ extradition. “The department will not cease to pursue and seize cryptocurrency ransoms, thereby thwarting the attempts of ransomware actors to evade law enforcement through the use of virtual currency.”

A U.S. Justice Department press release credited co-operation from the RCMP’s National  Cybercrime Co-ordination Unit (known as NC3), the Ontario Provincial Police and the Gatineau Police Service.

The Justice Department also credited the RCMP, and police forces from France, Romania, Netherlands, Poland, Ukraine, and the U.K. in the investigation of Vasinskyi, as well as acknowledging help from security vendors BitDefender, McAfee, and Microsoft.


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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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