Romanian eBay hacker and prosecutor both unhappy with appeal ruling

Hacker wanted a shorter suspended sentence, while prosecutor wanted to link the case to organized crime

Romanian eBay hacker Vlad Duiculescu, known online as "Vladuz," lost the appeal to get his three-year suspended prison sentence reduced on Tuesday. The court also dismissed the appeal lodged by prosecutors regarding the hacker's acquittal on organized crime charges.

Vladuz led a hacking campaign against eBay from 2005 until 2007 that resulted in the compromise of multiple employee email accounts and sensitive information. According to the company, the hacker's actions resulted in losses of over US$7 million.

Duiculescu was arrested in April 2008 in Bucharest after a joint investigation by law enforcement authorities in Romania and the U.S. He was charged with several counts of unauthorized access to a computer system, accessing and modifying information without authorization, distributing tools that facilitate computer hacking and establishing an organized criminal group.

The hacker, who was 20 years old at the time, spent two years in jail awaiting before the Bucharest Tribunal ruled in January 2010 that he could be tried as a free man.

In February 2011, the same court found him guilty of unauthorized access and sentenced him to a three-year prison term, suspended for eight years. The suspension means that if he is found guilty of another offense in the next eight years, his three-year suspended prison term will be activated. However, he was acquitted of the organized crime charge due to insufficient evidence.

Two of the hacker's associates, Mihai Adrian Savin and Dragos Florin Oprea, also received suspended prison sentences of one and a half years each. They also were ordered to pay eBay a total of $52,000 in damages.

Duiculescu and the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), which built the case against him, appealed the ruling, but on Tuesday the Bucharest Court of Appeals dismissed both actions as unfounded.

DIICOT declined to comment on the decision. However, according to a spokeswoman for the Bucharest Court of Appeals, the agency has already started procedures to file an appeal with the Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice, the country's supreme court. This ruling is not final for Duiculescu either, as he too can take his case to the supreme court.

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Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
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