Former eSports team owner charged in massive hacking

Dmitry 'ddd1ms' Smilianets charged as part of "largest hacking and data breach scheme ever prosecuted in the United States."

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Just over one year ago, it was reported that the owner of a large Russian eSports/competitive gaming team Moscow 5, Dmitry 'ddd1ms' Smilianets--with world-class teams in League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike--was arrested as part of a global operation by the FBI’s cyber crimes unit.

Image credit: goodgame.ru
Image credit: goodgame.ru

Today, US authorities confirmed Smilianets' role in the operation, with US Attorney Paul Fishman calling the case the "largest hacking and data breach scheme ever prosecuted in the United States."

Smilianets is among five Russian and Ukrainian nationals charged in running a sophisticated hacking network, stealing at least 160 million debit and credit card numbers, resulting in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars. The indictment said the suspects sent each other instant messages as they took control of the corporate data, telling each other, for instance: "NASDAQ is owned."

Smilianets is in US custody and is expected to appear in federal court next week. His New York-based lawyer, Bruce Provda, said Smilianets was in the US "sightseeing" when he was arrested.

"It's a rather complex international charge of hacking," Provda said. "If it goes to trial, it's going to be a lengthy trial."

Smilianets was the information salesman, the government said.

Initial reports of Smilianets' arrest last July had him arrested in Amsterdam, with an official post on Moscow 5's site (now removed) stating that funding for the team would continue for the near future.

"Dima was indeed travelling to Amsterdam for leisure purposes and he was indeed arrested," the statement read. "Even though it took place a couple of days ago, motives of Dutch police are still unknown."

"Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation does not possess any kind of information about the arrest, since Dutch police refuses to provide it. In order to handle this unfortunate situation his father has departed to Amsterdam. Hopefully, he will be able to do so. Despite these unpleasant circumstances, our Dota 2 and LoL squads are going to continue with their preparations to upcoming tournaments."

On January 10, Moscow 5's manager, Konstantin "groove" Pikiner, who had been trying to keep the organization going, announced that the team would be forced to shut down due in large part to the arrest of Smilianets and the financial strain it caused.

Several days later, Pikiner announced that the championship League of Legends team would form under the new organization Gambit Gaming to participate in Riot’s League of Legends Championship Series.

Pikiner declined comment to GameSpot regarding the situation.

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