Spain orders extradition of British alleged hacker to U.S.

United States Courts

Spain’s National Court has agreed to the extradition to the U.S. of a British citizen who allegedly took part in computer attacks, including the July 2020 hacking of Twitter accounts of public figures such as Joseph Biden, Barack Obama and Bill Gates.

A court statement Friday said requirements had been met for handing over Joseph James O’Connor to U.S. authorities for 14 charges covering crimes such as revelation of secrets, membership of a criminal gang, illegal access to computer systems, internet fraud, money laundering and extortion.

O’Connor, 23, from Liverpool, England was arrested in the southern Spanish coastal town of Estepona in July 2021.

He is accused of hacking some 130 Twitter accounts. The court document said he is also wanted for hacking the Snapchat account of an unidentified public figure whom he allegedly tried to extort with the threat of publishing nude photographs of the person.

He is also wanted for several cases of “swatting,” prank calls to emergency services aimed at getting large numbers of police to be sent to different locations.

The court rejected arguments by O’Connor’s lawyers that he should be tried in Spain since the servers he used were located there.

The statement said he is wanted by courts in the Northern District of California and the Southern District of New York. The extradition order can be appealed.

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