The Moscow City Court has sentenced Russian the founder of cybersecurity firm Group-IB Ilya Sachkov to 14 years in prison for treason. The conviction was confirmed to The Insider by representatives of the court.
Prior to the announcement of the verdict, state prosecutors had requested the court to sentence Sachkov to 18 years in prison.
A message published in Sachkov's Telegram channel on July 24 said that the requested term would not prevent him from “doing what he must with a smile, dignity and clear cold-blooded professionalism.”
“If there is a conviction, it will be one of the most successful operations of the US intelligence services and another planned blow to the Russian IT sector,” Sachkov wrote.
Ilya Sachkov was arrested in September 2021 and later charged with state treason under Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code, which carries a sentence of 12 to 20 years in prison. The case against him involved allegations of transferring classified information to foreign intelligence services in 2011. Sergei Mikhailov, the former deputy head of Russia’s Federal Security Service’s (FSB) Center for Information Security, testified against Sachkov. Mikhailov received a 22-year prison sentence for treason in 2019.
Bloomberg reported that Sachkov's prosecution may be linked to his plan to move most of his business operations outside of Russia. In April 2021, Sachkov mentioned in an interview with Forbes that Group-IB intended to list its shares on a foreign exchange. Additionally, in 2020, he stated that the company aimed to generate half of its revenue from outside the former Soviet Union for the first time.
While in pre-trial detention, Sachkov wrote open letters offering advice to the state on how to bring back IT specialists who left due to the war with Ukraine and mobilization. He also wrote a personal appeal to President Vladimir Putin requesting a transfer to house arrest.
Group-IB, now known as F.A.C.C.T., is an international company specializing in cyberattack detection, fraud prevention, investigation of high-tech crimes, and protection of intellectual property online. The company has been involved in various international cybercrime investigations.
In June 2023, Nikita Kislitsin, the head of one of F.A.C.C.T’s departments, was detained in Kazakhstan at the request of the United States. In Russia, he is suspected of unauthorized access to legally protected computer information.