Russian law enforcement on Tuesday has arrested Ilya Sachkov, the co-founder and CEO of cybersecurity company Group-IB, on suspicion of high treason resulting from sharing data with foreign intelligence.
While details about the accusations have yet to be disclosed, a court in Moscow decided that Sachkov be detained for two months as a preventative measure.
Authorities carried out searches at Group-IB offices in Moscow that started early morning on Tuesday and lasted till evening.
A correspondent for the RTVI television network present at the location said that at the entrance of the building there was a minivan and a bus where a man in civilian clothes carried various articles from Group-IB offices.
Ilya Sachkov, co-founder and CEO of Group-IB, was arrested on suspicion of committing a crime under Article 275 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which refers to high treason and carries a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years.
As a result of this ruling from the Lefortovo District Court of Moscow, Sachkov is to be detained until November 27, 2021.
An official statement today from Group-IB says that company lawyers are currently studying the ruling but offered no comment on the presented charges.
In the interim, the management of the company has passed to Dmitry Volkov, the second Group-IB co-founder, whose regular role as chief technology officer is essential in the technological development of the company.
Group-IB was founded in Russia but moved its headquarters to Singapore to maintain a certain level of autonomy. Since 2015, they have assisted law enforcement organizations (Europol, Interpol) with information, expertise, and statistical data that helped combat cybercriminal endeavors.
While the reasons for arresting Sachkov remain unclear, some Russian publications say that Group-IB has been under pressure from the country’s Federal Security Service (FSB) because it refused to cooperate with the intelligence agency outside official contracts or on political issues.
In an interview in 2019, Sachkov shared his vision of a global company that did not need approval from Russia’s powers that be for its direction.
Even more, Sachkov, who lived mostly in Singapore, has criticized Russia’s disregard for criminal hackers that targeted victims in other countries.
This stance likely earned Group-IB’s CEO some ill repute with Russia’s political leadership.