Spain arrests supposed Russian computer scientist at US request

News reports say he was tied to Russian interference in the last US election, but a source denies the connection

A Russian man reported to be a computer scientist has been arrested and is being held in Spain, with a law enforcement source contracting news reports saying he was involved with a computer virus linked to U.S. President Donald Trump's recent election victory.

The arrest of Piotr Levashov at the Barcelona airport on Friday was not tied to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, said the source, who is close to the investigation. That contradicts news reports from Agence France-Presse and other news outlets, which said Levashov's wife, Maria Levachova, was told his arrest was connected to Trump's election.

Levachova, speaking to Russia Today, said Spanish police told her that "a virus which appears to have been created by my husband is linked to the victory of Trump" in November's election. Levashov remained in custody in Spain Monday, with the U.S. seeking to extradite him, AFP reported.

The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on its case against Levashov, noting that the investigation is under seal.

It's unclear where Levashov worked or what his computer specialty is. There appears to be little information about him online beyond news of his arrest.

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Grant Gross

IDG News Service
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