“Crafty Cockney” loses extradition appeal; closer to standing trial in U.S. for alleged role in “thedarkoverlord” attacks
Nathan Wyatt, the 38 year-old U.K. resident known as “Crafty Cockney” on AlphaBay market, has lost his bid to convince the High Court to overturn a lower court’s ruling that he should be extradited to the U.S.
Today’s ruling means that Wyatt is one step closer to being extradited to stand trial in federal court in the Eastern District of Missouri on charges related to some of the earlier hacks and extortion attempts by thedarkoverlord (TDO). Wyatt was indicted on November 8, 2017 on 6 counts: a single conspiracy charge, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and three counts of threatening damage to a computer. DataBreaches.net has previously hypothesized the identities of the victim medical practices described in the indictment.
The High Court’s ruling, issued this morning, began with a recap of the sole issue before the court at this point:
- The Government of the United States seeks the extradition of the appellant on charges relating to computer hacking with associated demands for money and the dissemination on the internet of personal medical records. On 25 January 2019 District Judge Tempia sent the appellant’s case to the Secretary of State who subsequently ordered his extradition. The sole issue before the judge was whether the forum bar to extradition found in section 83A of the Extradition Act 2003 [“the 2003 Act”] should operate to prevent extradition on the basis that the interests of justice, as defined in that section, favoured prosecution in this jurisdiction.
- The judge examined each of the statutory factors that inform that question. She concluded that it was in the interests of justice for the appellant to be extradited for trial in the United States. This is his appeal against the decision to send the case to the Secretary of State.
Wyatt’s alleged crimes and the extradition case have been covered in previous posts on this site, but they are also explained in the background section of the court’s ruling. It is not clear from the U.S. Department of Justice’s filings whether the DOJ believes that Wyatt is the individual who was the spokesperson for thedarkoverlord (TDO) in 2016 and 2017, or if they believe he was the mastermind behind TDO, or if they believe he was just a member or associate. There were no other suspects named in the DOJ’s filings, although they noted that there were ongoing investigations into others.
Significantly, Wyatt was not charged with actually hacking any entity.
Was Wyatt really intimately involved in all of TDO’s early hacks and extortion attempts as DOJ alleges? That will be for a trial court to determine. In the immediate future, though, Wyatt and his solicitors have a decision to make. If I understand their processes in the U.K., Wyatt now has 14 days to apply to the High Court for permission to appeal to the U.K.’s Supreme Court. If the High Court refuses his application to appeal — or if he makes no application at all — then he will be extradited within 28 days of the end of the 14 day period.
But while Wyatt can apply for leave to appeal, my understanding is that at this point, Wyatt’s basis for any further appeal is extremely limited as he can only seek permission to appeal on a point of law.
DataBreaches.net reached out to the Department of Justice International Affairs office, Tuckers Solicitors (Wyatt’s solicitors), and Wyatt’s partner/fiancee for comments on today’s ruling, but received no immediate replies. This post may be updated if comments are received.
Update: A spokesperson for DOJ responded that as a matter of longstanding policy, DOJ generally does not comment on extradition-related matters until a defendant is in the United States.