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Sébastien Raoult, a French student detained in Morocco, faces 116 years in prison in the United States for suspicion of cyberpiracy

He is claimed by the American justice system and faces up to 116 years in prison. Sebastien Raoult, uA 21-year-old French student has been imprisoned for two months in Morocco at the request of the American authorities because he is suspected by the United States of hacking into several companies. According to The Obswho disclosed the affair on July 28 (paid item), the FBI (US Federal Bureau of Investigation) suspects the young man of being a member of a group of hackers accused of being “prolific cybercriminals” by US authorities.

On May 31, while in Morocco, Sébastien Raoult was arrested at the Moroccan international airport of Rabat-Salé. According to the Moroccan police, the young Frenchman was the subject of a red notice (request addressed to authorities around the world and involving the immediate arrest of an individual pending extradition) issued by Interpol at the request of American justice. , in a case of cyberpiracy against companies, American in particular.

The American authorities demand his extradition for acts of “conspiracy to commit electronic fraud and abuse”, “electronic fraud” and “serious identity theft”according The Obs. More specifically, the FBI suspects Sébastien Raoult of being part of the “ShinyHunters” group, whose name was chosen in reference to the Pokémon universe.

In this undated photo, Sébastien Raoult, a 21-year-old Frenchman arrested on May 31, 2022 in Morocco and then detained on suspicion of cybercrime, takes a selfie.  (COURTESY OF THE FAMILY / AFP)

This group of hackers which appeared in the spring of 2020, as the weekly recalls, had caused a stir by selling nearly 200 million pieces of stolen data on the darknet (part of the Internet network accessible by software that anonymizes user data) for nearly 200,000 dollars (about 196,000 euros).

For this, the hackers broke into the computer systems of several companies and also demanded ransoms from their targets. Several large American groups such as Microsoft, the Bonobo clothing brand or AT&T, the number two American telecom company, are concerned.

In this case, four other French people suspected of belonging to the same group have been interviewed by the French authorities, according to information gathered by the weekly. In this sense, a request for mutual criminal assistance was sent by the United States to France in the summer of 2021 about the “ShinyHunters”, a source familiar with the matter told AFP.

Today, Sébastien Raoult is still incarcerated in Tiflet 2 prison, near Rabat. “He’s been eating on the floor for two months, on the floor. He’s been sleeping without a mattress for two months”denounced his father, Tuesday, August 2, in a press conference in Paris. “My son was betrayed by France”accuses his father, Paul Raoult, who criticizes a “miscarriage of justice” and demands that the government prevent an extradition of her son from Morocco to the United States.

Paul Raoult, father of Sébastien Raoult, French student detained in Morocco, suspected of cybercrime by the United States, with his lawyer Philippe Ohayon during a press conference in Paris, August 2, 2022.   (BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)

Interviewed by France 3 at the end of July, Paul Raoult is convinced of the innocence of his son. “I don’t see him doing that at all”, did he declare. According to him, the young Frenchman denies the facts: “He (…) claims that his accounts were used without his knowledge”he explains to The Obs. The weekly reports that it was friends of his son, who came to pick him up at Brussels airport on the day of his arrest, who warned him of his disappearance, not seeing him get off the plane.

Paul Raoult says that his son had gone to Morocco to breathe. “He was in a phase of rupture with studies. He wanted to live, to discover the world and to travel and had the impression of wasting his time at school”he explained to AFP.

Before leaving for Morocco, the young Frenchman lived in Epinal (Vosges) with his parents. He was in his second year of computer studies in Nancy (Meurthe-et-Moselle) before stopping his training last December. Fascinated by this field since childhood, he wanted to work in the field of computer security according to his father, interviewed by Le Parisien (article subscribers)July 29.

The young Frenchman could face up to 116 years in prison in the United States for the facts attributed to him, according to his lawyer Philippe Ohayon, who judges that the legal proceedings contain violations “French sovereignty over its territory” and “principle of fair trial”.

“We request that proceedings be instituted in France concerning the alleged facts and the issuance of an extradition request against him.he advanced near The Obs. We are not looking for impunity, we are only asking to be judged where we can defend ourselves.” Questioned by France 3 at the end of July, he explains that he wants to demonstrate that his client’s identity has been usurped, but claims that he cannot do so in the United States.

The lawyer asked the Epinal prosecution to open a preliminary investigation into the charges against Sébastien Raoult. But this request was rejected by the public prosecutor. The Epinal prosecution clarified on Tuesday evening that new elements received from the lawyer were going to “to be studied”. According to The Obs, a letter was sent to President Emmanuel Macron and to the Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti to inform them of the situation of Sébastien Raoult. His father asks: “Why this silence at the highest level of the State?”

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