THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- The Dutch government has approved the extradition to the United States of a Russian citizen accused of participating in a hacking ring that penetrated computer networks of more than a dozen corporations and stole at least 160 million credit and debit card numbers.
Vladimir Drinkman is one of four Russians and a Ukrainian indicted last year in New Jersey for the hacking, which resulted in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars and has been described as the largest data breach ever prosecuted in the U.S.
Justice and Security Ministry spokesman Job van de Sande said Tuesday minister Ivo Opstelten has approved the extradition of Drinkman, a key hurdle before he can be sent to face U.S. justice.
Drinkman's lawyer, Bart Stapert, didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.
"It may be the biggest hacking plot ever uncovered," former FBI assistant director John Miller told "CBS This Morning" last year.
In a "debit card dump," the hackers sold payment card numbers to resellers. Resellers sold the numbers to online "cashers," who encoded them onto blank payment cards. Then, the new cards were used to purchase goods or withdraw money. The ring earned about $10 for every American card, $15 for every Canadian card, and $50 for every European card, according to the indictment.