On 15 July 2015, Lauri Love was arrested in the United Kingdom, in relation to alleged computer hacking offences committed in the United States, pursuant to an extradition request made by the US government.
Mr Love appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 15 July 2015, the same day of his arrest, and was granted conditional bail.
Mr Love was first arrested by police officers in the UK, including investigators from the Cyber Crime Unit of the National Crime Agency (NCA), on 24 October 2013 in relation to a joint investigation, conducted by the NCA and US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
According to a press release, issued by the New Jersey US Attorney’s Office, dated 28 October 2013, Mr Love was charged under a federal indictment, filed in the New Jersey District Court, with one count of accessing a US department or agency computer without authorisation, and one count of conspiring to do the same. It is alleged that, between October 2012 and October 2013, Mr Love infiltrated US government computer systems, including those of the US Army, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US Missile Defense Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency. He is alleged to have released confidential and sensitive data, resulting in financial losses totalling millions of dollars.
Mr Love was not formally charged in the UK; rather, he was arrested on suspicion of offences contrary to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 (CMA). He was granted police bail in due course after his arrest and released from bail in July 2014. No formal extradition request was made by the US.
In 2014, Mr Love was further charged in the US, with the following two counts:
- On 27 February 2014, the US District Court, in Manhattan, unsealed an indictment against Mr Love, on related charges of computer hacking and aggravated identity theft. The alleged target was computer systems belonging to the Federal Reserve Bank. The press release is here.
- On 24 July 2014, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia indicted Mr Love on charges of conspiracy, causing damage to a protected computer, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. Alleged targets included the Department for Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, and the US Sentencing Commission. The press release is here.
Again, Mr Love was not formally charged in the UK, and it appears that no formal extradition request was made by the US.
15 July 2015 Development
On 15 July 2015, Mr Love was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Extradition Squad on three US extradition warrants.
He was released on conditional bail with a £5,000 security, on 15 July 2015, pending a full extradition hearing scheduled for 1 September 2015.
It remains to be seen what defence arguments are made in contesting extradition proceedings.