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Sébastien Raoult, Frenchman imprisoned in Morocco, threatened with extradition to the United States where he risks a heavy sentence

According to his lawyer, he would risk a sentence of 116 years in prison in the United States for the acts attributed to him. Sébastien Raoult, a 21-year-old Frenchman, has been incarcerated for more than two months in Tiflet 2 prison, near Rabat, Morocco, at the request of the American authorities. Wanted by the FBI for acts of cybercrime against American companies, the young man was the subject of an Interpol red card issued by a Washington State prosecutor. In France, Sébastien’s father, Paul Raoult, remains convinced of his son’s innocence and is waging a media and legal battle to prevent his extradition across the Atlantic.

Originally from Epinal (Vosges), Sébastien Raoult was in his second year of study at Epitech, a computer school in Nancy (Meurthe-et-Moselle). Specialized in information technology, programming, cybersecurity and blockchain, he decided to stop his training last December. According to his father, he entered “in a phase of rupture with studies” : “He wanted to live, to discover the world and to travel and felt like he was wasting his time at school. » The young Frenchman was staying in Morocco when he was arrested. Having reached the end of his three-month tourist visa, he was about to embark for Brussels when he was arrested at Rabat-Salé airport on 1er June 2022 because of the Interpol red card he was the subject of.

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FBI suspected of cybercrime

According to information collected by The Obswhich revealed the affair, the FBI suspects the young man of being an important member of the ShinyHunters, a group of hackers considered by the American authorities as “prolific cybercriminals”. This collective of computer hackers, whose name refers to the Pokémon universe, was formed in 2020 and is suspected of having hacked 200 million pieces of data from a dozen large companies, such as the American firm Microsoft or Tokopedia, an actor of e-commerce in Indonesia, before reselling them on the dark Net or demanding ransoms from his targets. always according to The ObsWashington calls for the extradition of Sébastien Raoult for acts of “conspiracy to commit electronic fraud and abuse”, “electronic fraud” and “serious identity theft”.

These offenses would have been committed from French IP addresses, but also more recently Moroccan, which would be linked to Sébastien Raoult. American investigators also reportedly got their hands on online conversations attributed to the Frenchman in which he mentioned the said hacks.

“We are not looking for impunity”

“He strongly denies the facts and claims that his accounts were used without his knowledge”tells our colleagues about the Obs Sebastien Raoult’s father. “He’s been eating on the floor for two months. He has been sleeping without a mattress for two months”he also denounced at a press conference on Tuesday. “In this situation, he is a victim”, he finally said at the microphone of Europe 1, Tuesday August 2.

“The statements of the father of the detainee in question are untruths”replied a source from the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) of Morocco, saying that he “enjoys all his rights like the other prisoners”. “He has a bed and shares an eight-bed cell with seven fellow prisoners. His meals are served to him on a tray.added the same source.

According to his lawyer, Mr.e Philippe Ohayon, the young man faces a 116-year prison sentence in the United States for the facts attributed to him, denouncing a “inhuman and degrading treatment” because of the penalty incurred. “The extradition request submitted by the United States amounts in fact to exposing him to a life sentence prohibited by Article 3 of the ECHR [Convention européenne des droits de l’homme] », he says. Me Ohayon believes that the procedure concerning its client contains violations “French sovereignty over its territory” and “principle of fair trial”. According to him, in France, the alleged offenses would be punishable by a maximum of five years in prison.

Me Ohayon requested the extradition of Sébastien Raoult to France from the public prosecutor of Epinal, where part of the facts would have been committed: “We request that proceedings be initiated in France concerning the alleged facts and the issuance of an extradition request against him” did he advance. “We are not looking for impunity, we are only asking to be judged where we can defend ourselves. »

A request for mutual criminal assistance was sent by the United States to France last summer about the ShinyHunters, a source familiar with the matter told Agence France-Presse (AFP). Several arrests and hearings have taken place concerning people suspected of being directly or indirectly involved in this network, without further legal action at this stage.

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“We do not have the possibility at this stage to intervene”

The public prosecutor nevertheless decided to reject this request to open a preliminary investigation, “on the grounds that the territory of the Vosges would have no competence to deal with this file”explained at a press conference Me Ohayon. For the lawyer, “We exported a turnkey French file that should have been the responsibility of a French examining magistrate”.

According to him, “the American parts show in every way that he is competent”. And to point out that “the American arrest warrant gives as address the address of Sébastien in Epinal”. The Epinal prosecution, however, confirmed to AFP on Tuesday that it had received new elements from the lawyer, elements which “will also be studied”.

Paul Raoult asks that the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, take up the file by contacting the American authorities. “My son was betrayed by France”, he accused, criticizing a ” miscarriage of justice “ and asking that his son’s extradition to the United States be prevented. He also urged the Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, to get out of “his silence”, by intervening with the Moroccan authorities in the context of an extradition request.

“Moroccan justice has been requested by American justice and we do not have the possibility at this stage to intervene”, replied Wednesday Eric Dupond-Moretti, questioned on this subject by BFM-TV after a visit to Marseille at the Baumettes prison. The Keeper of the Seals affirmed that Moroccan justice was “sovereign and independent” but that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was “mobilized on this issue”.

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