Lithuanian court OKs extradition in US phishing case

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VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) - A Lithuanian businessman suspected of tricking more than $100 million out of Google and Facebook in an elaborate cybercrime case should be extradited to the United States, a local court ruled Friday.

The Lithuanian Court of Appeal in Vilnius ruled that Evaldas Rimasauskas must be handed over to the U.S., where he will be tried for wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. He allegedly posed as one of the companies' suppliers, an Asian computer hardware manufacturer, and tricked them into accepting fraudulent invoices. Google earlier said it had detected the fraud and alerted authorities.

Rimasauskas has denied the charges. If convicted, he could face a lengthy prison sentence.

"Lithuania has a bilateral extradition agreement with the U.S. and this case meets all criteria," judge Algimantas Valantinas told reporters. "The United States has launched an investigation into this crime, so the request to hand over this citizen of Lithuania was legitimate and motivated."

Rimasauskas' lawyer, Linas Kuprusevicius, said his client "cannot expect a fair and impartial trial in the United States," and claimed the extradition request lacked key information, but the court dismissed these statements.

Friday's decision is final. A date for the handover will be announced later this month.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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