Vladimir Levin

Vladimir Levin, a biochemistry graduate of St. Petersburg’s Tekhnologichesky University in mathematics, led a Russian hacker group in the first publicly revealed international bank robbery over a network.

Levin used a laptop computer in London, England, to access the Citibank network, and then obtained a list of customer codes and passwords. Then he logged on 18 times over a period of weeks and transferred $3.7 million through wire transfers to accounts his group controlled in the United States, Finland,the Netherlands, Germany, and Israel. Citibank later retrieved all but about $400,000.

When Citibank noticed the transfers, they contacted the authorities, who tracked Levin down and arrested him at a London airport in March, 1995. He fought extradition for 30 months, but lost, and was transferred to the US for trial. He was convicted and sentenced to three years in jail, and ordered to pay Citibank $240,015. Four members of Levin’s group pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and served various sentences.