Spain studies extraditing to the US an accused of accessing Biden's twitter

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Joseph James has remained in prison since Judge Santiago Pedraz decreed it in July 2021 for risk of flight, given the British “lack of roots” in the country

Spain studies extraditing to the US an accused of accessing Biden's twitter

Joseph James has remained in prison since Judge Santiago Pedraz decreed it in July 2021 for risk of flight , given the “lack of roots” of the British in Spain. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The Spanish Justice resumes the hearing of on Mondayextradition to the United States of Joseph James, a young British man whom the FBI linked to the illegal intrusion into more than a hundred Twitter accounts and other networks, including those of President Joe Biden, the former President Obama and the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates.

The procedure, instructed by the National Court of Spain,It began in March 2022, although the judges in charge agreed, at the request of the defendant's defense, to consult the European Justice on what rules should be applied in the extradition of Britons claimed by third countries after Brexit.

The defense asked the Spanish court to apply the European doctrine known as “Petruhin”: when a third country (in this case the United States) requests the surrender of a citizen of the Union European Union (EU), you should ask the country of which you are a national (in this case the United Kingdom) if it wants to try you for these facts.

However, the European Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), in response to the consultation of the National High Court, ruled that this doctrine does not apply to cases like this.

< p>Spain studies extraditing to the US an accused of accessing Biden's twitter

Joseph James, hacked into more than a hundred Twitter accounts and other networks, including those of President Joe Biden, former President Obama and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

In this way, once the CJEU has ruled, the Spanish court will resume the procedure on Monday. The Spanish Prosecutor's Office will support the delivery of the defendant to the United States, where he is accused of forming a plot that would have been dedicated in 2020 to exchanging illegal access to Twitter accounts for payments in cryptocurrency.

According to the extradition request, the suspect, who was arrested in 2021 in Estepona (southern Spain), communicated with a computer hacker and two other individuals, who made of intermediaries to access the accounts.

The newspaper El Español said that in 2020, who Spanish agents found behind the nickPlugWalkJoe was a 22-year-old man, dressed in a sports shirt, shorts, white socks and flip-flops. They located him in Estepona, in front of the three screens of his powerful and expensive computer, in a luxurious urbanization on the Costa del Sol, where he lived alone and almost secluded, eating only food at home and dedicating the spends most of his time gambling online and bitcoins.

It is also attributed to hacking into social media accounts associated with two public figures, whose identities have not been publicly released.

Spain studies extraditing to the US a accused of accessing Biden's twitter

According to the extradition request, the suspect, who was arrested in 2021 in Estepona (southern Spain), communicated with a hacker and two other individuals, who acted as intermediaries to access the accounts. REUTERS/Juan Medina

The newspaper explained that from the accounts, it would have committed a scam with virtual currencies, asking users to make deposits in bitcoins and promising to double them. And, according to the US, he would be involved in a computer attack on users of the TikTok and Snapchat applications, and in a case of cyber bullying of a minor.

Joseph James has remained in prison since Judge Santiago Pedraz decreed it in July 2021 for risk of flight, given the Briton's “lack of roots” in Spain.

The Briton refused to be handed over at the time and his lawyer asked the Spanish court that, if this happened, Spain would request guarantees that he would not be sentenced in the US to a “de facto permanent prison ” or that he could serve an eventual sentence in the United Kingdom.

(with information from EFE)

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