ChronoPay co-founder arrested by Russian authorities

As reported last week by Infosecurity, after investigating ChronoPay for some time, security researcher Brian Krebs said that Pavel Vrublevsky, "the embattled co-founder of ChronoPay - had reportedly fled [Russia] after the arrest of a suspect who confessed that he was hired by Vrublevsky to launch a debilitating cyber-attack against a top ChronoPay competitor."

Now it seems that Vrublevsky has been arrested, although it remains to be seen on what charges.

According to Krebs, the Russian is perhaps best known as the co-owner of the Rx-Promotion rogue online pharmacy program, whilst his company has also consistently "has been involved in credit card processing for - and in many cases setting up companies on behalf of - rogue anti-virus or `scareware' scams that use misleading PC security alerts in a bid to frighten people into purchasing worthless security software.

Russian state-run news organisations, says Krebs, are reporting that Vrublevsky was arrested on June 23, whilst Financial Times reporter Joe Menn reported that Vrublevsky was ordered held without bail and a hearing was set for a month's time.

Krebs claims that the ChronoPay executive wanted to sideline rival payment processing firms who were competing for a lucrative contract to process payments for Aeroflot, Russia's largest airline.

"Sources close to the investigation said Vrublevsky was arrested at the Sheremetievo airport outside of Moscow as he returned from a trip to the Maldives", he says in his latest security blog.

"The arrest comes just 24 hours after authorities seized computers and servers in the United States and seven other countries [last] week as part of an ongoing investigation of a hacking gang that stole $72 million via scareware scams", he added.

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