The "hacker" who threatened Bloomberg gets prison

Wednesday, 2 July 2003, 6:50 AM EST

A Kazakh citizen was sentenced on Tuesday to more than four years in prison for hacking into Bloomberg L.P.'s computer system in an attempt to extort $200,000 from the business news service and its founder, Michael Bloomberg, now New York City's mayor.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood sentenced Oleg Zezev to 51 months in prison, one of the longest terms ever given for computer intrusion, federal prosecutors said.

"As the government has pointed out, your crime was a very serious one because of its threat to international commerce and the integrity of data that the financial community relies upon to do its business," Wood said.

The trial received a great deal of publicity because Bloomberg testified about meeting with Zezev in London in August of 2000 as part of a scheme to catch the defendant. Zezev was arrested at that time.

Zezev also made a surprising escape attempt during the trial as he began heading for the back of the room by jumping onto the backs of courtroom benches.

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