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 carderplanet.com 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.
"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."
March 28, 2008; 10:50 AM ET
Categories: Fraud , From the Bunker , U.S. Government
Save & Share: 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
Posted by: Moike | March 28, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Newbie | March 28, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse
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
Posted by: AT | March 29, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Igor Smith | March 30, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: cbrp1r8 | March 31, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: aric | March 31, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Pete from Arlington | March 31, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: BobC | March 31, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Chirp | March 31, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: kfritz | March 31, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Paul Corsa | April 2, 2008 5:40 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Artem | April 2, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.