Accused spy in Yahoo hack worked for Russian billionaire's bank

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(Bloomberg) -- One of two alleged Russian intelligence officers charged by the U.S. with hacking a half-billion Yahoo! Inc. email accounts worked for billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s investment bank until last week.

Igor Sushchin left his job as head of security at Renaissance Capital’s brokerage unit March 16, a day after the U.S. unsealed its indictment in San Francisco, the company’s press service said in a statement Monday.

RenCap said it learned about the case from media reports and wasn’t aware of any accusations of wrongdoing in connection with Sushchin’s employment, which was first reported by the Kommersant newspaper. Sushchin couldn’t be reached via two home numbers listed in a Moscow directory.

The U.S. government accused Sushchin and a second agent of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, of conducting a broad scheme of profit-seeking and intelligence gathering that started no later than January 2014 and continued through at least Dec. 1, 2016.

Prosecutors outlined a scheme of economic espionage, wire fraud and theft of trade secrets, accusing the two Russian agents of conspiring with a hacker in the 2014 breach of Yahoo. A second hacker, a Kazakh-born Canadian, allegedly targeted people inside Russia in related data-gathering efforts.

Prosecutors said Sushchin was “embedded” at a Russian financial firm, where he monitored employee communications. They said it wasn’t clear if the firm, which they didn’t identify, knew of his FSB affiliation.

Prokhorov, who also owns the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, couldn’t be reached for comment immediately through his Onexim Group holding company, which declined to comment.

Russian officials have repeatedly denied conducting state-sponsored hacking.

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