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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Petersburg Hopes to Question Hacker




St. Petersburg police say they will seek to question the man who in 1994 hacked into Citibank's computer systems to steal $12 million if U.S. immigration authorities decide to deport him to Russia.


According to St. Petersburg police investigator Vladimir Oleinikov, police hope to question Vladimir Levin, 30, about possible accomplices. The former St. Petersburg resident in March finished serving a three-year prison term after pleading guilty to stealing $3.7 million from the U.S. banking giant.


"We have not even started," Oleinikov said of his department's investigation into the case.


Levin was arrested in Britain in March 1995 and extradited to the United States last September.


He pleaded guilty last February and was released the next month.


Levin is currently awaiting deportation in a U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service detention center in the southern state of Louisiana.


Shortly after his arrest, police raided the St. Petersburg offices of a private company from which Levin had accessed a number of accounts at Citibank, Oleinikov said.


Following the raids, the St. Petersburg Prosecutor's Office started criminal proceedings against Levin.


Despite having opened a criminal investigation, Russian police and prosecutors have never questioned Levin in the theft.


Oleinikov said in a telephone interview Friday that he "has nothing against" Levin and that no extradition request has been filed with U.S authorities.


The police investigator wouldn't elaborate on who the police suspect helped Levin in the computer heist, which has become a legend in cybercrime.


Levin had co-conspirators in Finland, the United States, the Netherlands, Germany and Israel, according to news reports.


Four of Levin's accomplices have been charged in the United States and have reached plea agreements with the authorities.


Levin reportedly plans to appeal deportation to Russia.


He is said to prefer deportation to Great Britain instead.


Mark Thorn, a spokesman with the New York branch of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, said the agency has not yet determined when a hearing will be held to determine Levin's future.


But if returned to Russia, St. Petersburg police department spokeswoman Tatyana Fyodorova said, the authorities "would be ready to embrace him -- but with no red carpet rolled out."