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Russian hacker pleads guilty to $10 million theft

A Russian man has pleaded guilty in court to stealing $10 million from former Royal Bank of Scotland division World Pay in 2008 by hacking into accounts, RIA News reported on Monday.

Investigators said 27-year-old Yevgeny Anikin was a member of an international hacking ring that copied client account information and boosted the daily maximum withdrawal limit before taking cash out of bank machines across Europe, Asia and the United States.

"I want to say that I repent and fully admit my guilt," Mr. Anikin in his final comments to the court in Novosibirsk in Siberia, where he was charged with theft.

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Mr. Anikin, who was detained in 2009, bought two apartments in Novosibirsk as well as a luxury car.

Russia has produced some of the world's most renowned hackers, including the programmer who wrote ZeuS, a malicious software introduced as spyware that hides in computers and logs keystrokes to steal passwords. The software has helped steal an estimated $10 million.

Mr. Anikin, who is currently under house arrest, asked the judge for leniency in sentencing, saying he had already started paying back the money to the company. RBS Group sold World Pay in 2010 to a consortium of Advent International and Bain Capital.

Another member of the hacker ring was sentenced by a St. Petersburg court to six years in prison in September 2010.

The judge in the case, Lyubov Nazarov, said the verdict and sentence would be announced either on Monday or Friday.

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