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The Curious Case of Dmitry Golubov

Earlier this month, Security Fix took a look at Dmitry Ivanovich Golubov, a Ukrainian politician once considered by U.S. law enforcement to be a top cybercrime boss.

Golubov took rather strong exception to the way he was characterized in that post, denying involvement in any type of cybercrime activity. The problem, Golubov claimed, is that the FBI confused him with someone else.

According to Golubov, he was the victim of identity theft. Someone gained access to his passport, scanned it and posted it online along with a note confessing his involvement in a multinational credit card theft ring. According to Golubov, the note read:

"I Dmitry Golubov, leading hacker, I hack banks, but I have nothing to fear because the police with me at the same time, and in order for you to believe me that I am not afraid I show you my passport, as well as my home address and home phone."

"I am not mentally sick; if I indeed engaged in such activities, you think I will write about this on the Internet?" Golubov wrote in an e-mail exchange with Security Fix.

It just so happened that a short time after I wrote about Golobuv's political activities, I heard from one of the FBI agents who worked on his case back in 2005. The agent traveled to Ukraine to visit Golubov while he was in prison there awaiting trial.

E.J. Hilbert, a former FBI agent who worked closely on the Golubov investigation, said Golubov's involvement in the fraud ring was confirmed by numerous individuals arrested in Russia and by his alleged partner in crime, Roman Vega -- a.k.a. "BOA," a Ukrainian man arrested in 2004 for credit card trafficking and wire fraud.

"None of those that confirmed it were present during his trial in the Ukraine because they would not have returned to face their sentence in the U.S.," said Hilbert, who is no longer with the FBI.

Golubov said he doesn't know anyone named BOA or Vega, and that investigators who searched his apartment never found any digital evidence that he had been involved in illegal activity online. Golubov added that none of the three computers in his apartment in Kiev ever even had Internet access.

"Case actively promoted in press is baseless," Golubov wrote. "All others people arrested in this case have witnessed before judge that they see me for first time and never meet me. It was not found any credit card. There are not witnesses against me. Also there is no any other material evidence to serve in trial against me. During four searches in buildings which I've used -- there was not found any evidence -- either direct or indirect against me."

Hilbert said Golubov is correct in saying that investigators never found any hard evidence against him. He recounted that the steel door to Golubov's apartment was reinforced, so agents had to cut a hole in the adjacent wall to gain access to his apartment. The extra time that took gave Golubov the opportunity to fry what digital evidence he couldn't cook, Hilbert said.

A "raskat" device, used to remotely destroy data on computer hard drives. (

"As for his computer, he is right no evidence was found because he had cooked all of his loose media in a wok," Hilbert said. As for Golubov's computer hard drive? Hilbert said Golubov erased it with a type of electro-magnetic pulse generator known by its Russian name, "Raskat."

Golubov doesn't dispute that he owned a Raskat at the time, but he says he purchased it online to resell it at a local market for a tidy profit.

"In the past in Ukraine it was risky to keep all company contract and clients data on computers," Golubov said. "At first -- tax inspection can confiscate computers, at second -- competitors can stole them and take over businesses."

Golubov said it was members of the law enforcement task force who used the Raskat to fry the data on his hard drive.

"Regarding information from the hard drive -- it was not me who destroyed it. But it was employee of task force who conducted a search," Golubov wrote to Security Fix. "This officer has found Raskat system remote control. He decided that it is remote from my car alarm and started to push on it in order to find which one of parked nearby car it was. I have no car and it was remote from the system Raskat, and I have clearly said this to him, but he has not listened to me, and told me to be silent. And he pushed this button several time. It can be possible he has erased all information on purpose, in order to say that all evidences are all wiped off, or more likely due to stupidity."

For six months after the raid on his apartment, Golubov spent his days in a Kiev prison. That is, Hilbert said, until two influential Ukrainian politicians convinced a judge to toss out the case against the accused cybercrime boss.

Regarding the politicians who spoke up for Golubov, Hilbert said both allegedly took bribes in the past and may have been on Golubov's payroll or in the pocket of his associates.

Golubov acknowledged that he was sprung from jail at the request of two deputies from the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) who paid his bail. But he said the deputies did so because they saw the folly of the case against him.

"It was done by assistance of my lawyer Petro Boyko, who appealed to them personally and showed the criminal case, viewing that they realized that somebody has set me up and I'm innocent," Golubov wrote.

Golubov added that the whole incident tarnished his reputation. What's more, he's still missing some of his possessions as a result of the police raids.

"Why do not you write that during a search of my apartment police has stolen: leather jacket, boots, pension of my grandmother, mobile phone, 3 T-shirts, 2 canned sprats and more interesting - 10 pounds of salo," Golubov wrote.

For his part, Hilbert says he's speechless at the vehement denials.

"I don't know what to say. I give it to him for being so adamant," Hilbert said. "I can tell you this much: He was very egotistical then and seems so now. He will be one to watch. I bet he goes far in Ukrainian politics."

By Brian Krebs  |  March 28, 2008; 10:50 AM ET
Categories:  Fraud , From the Bunker , U.S. Government  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: U.S.-Based ISPs Count Known Terror Groups as Clients
Next: Happy 3rd Birthday To Security Fix



Posted by: msfreeh | March 28, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

So...are we to believe that he kept his hard drives in the Raskat (which he only stored until it could be resold), as well as having the Raskat plugged into the wall - thus the test remote control activation accidentally erased the hard drive(s)?

Posted by: Moike | March 28, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Could I have the link to the blog/article that discusses safe use of User Accounts? I gather that continuing to use my user account with admin rights is not a good thing.

Posted by: Newbie | March 28, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

One contributing commenter to the last article on Mr. Golubov/Holubov implied that comments from ostensible supporters of Mr. Golubov were spoofs. Evidently not!

Posted by: Kfritz | March 28, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Bk | March 28, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Newbie | March 28, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

> Golubov acknowledged that he was
> sprung from jail at the request of two
> deputies from the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament)
> who paid his bail.

They paid $0.0 - it's not money bail.
They will have to pay only in case if he will try to escape.

But seems he is not escaping - in contrast to many others Ukrainian politicians like Lazarenko, Bakai, Bodelan, Rud'kovskiy, Bilokon'.

Posted by: AT | March 29, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Where can you buy a Raskat? How much are they in dollars. Everyone needs a Raskat.

Posted by: Igor Smith | March 30, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

I agree, my degausser is nothing, the phosperous system in the filing cabinet is too messy. Where can one buy a raskat cheaply? In case more 3 letter agencies come knocking.

Posted by: cbrp1r8 | March 31, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I like how the article ended with him listing the things the cops stole during the raid...leather jacket, boots, Grandma's Pension???? I had my house raided by St. Marys county cops and they stole money and guns but how the hell do you steal a pension during a police raid? And who keeps 10 pounds of cured fish in your apartment?

Posted by: aric | March 31, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I was the one who thought the posts to BK's blog about this scoundrel were spoofs. I stand corrected. Here's a case where real life is much better than any spoof, even the most ingenious.

Posted by: Pete from Arlington | March 31, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"Golubov added that none of the three computers in his apartment in Kiev ever even had Internet access."

"Golubov doesn't dispute that he owned a Raskat at the time, but he says he purchased it online to resell it at a local market for a tidy profit."
How can you purchase something online if you never had internet access??

Posted by: BobC | March 31, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

that "not Bacon" sounds pretty gross. Maybe he'd been eating too much of it at that time? No access to internet, my foot.

Posted by: Chirp | March 31, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

@Pete from Arlington

I'm pleased to know that you're actually an on-the-level contributor. You could just as easily have been on-the-mark as those of us who took the Ukrainian apologists @ face value.

Posted by: kfritz | March 31, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Interesting-he bought the Raskat over the internet, but none of his computers are connected to the internet. Where does he access the internet?'

Posted by: Paul Corsa | April 2, 2008 5:40 AM | Report abuse

Strangely enough, but only here I found an objective point of veiw concering Dmitry Golubov and the story with CarderPlanet:

Posted by: Artem | April 2, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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