Three defendants have agreed to pay $ 1.68m in fines after being investigated by the US Department of Justice.
Three “traffickers” working for a company in the United Arab Emirates “to support” the government in Abu Dhabi have agreed to pay $ 1.68m in fines as part of a legal agreement in the United States, US The Department of Justice said.
The suspects, two U.S. citizens and one former U.S. citizen, gave a “zero-click” to computer hacking to a UAE company “that could hack the device without taking action”, the Ministry of Justice said in a statement on Tuesday.
It identified them as Marc Baier, 49, Ryan Adams, 34, and Daniel Gericke, a former US citizen, 40. US law allows Americans to leave their citizenship.
All three have previously raped a US intelligence team or the US military, according to the Ministry of Justice.
The treaty, known as the “opposition agreement”, will see its opponents flee from prosecution if they adhere to its terms.
“Those who hijack their co-workers and who also assist in violating US laws should expect to be prosecuted for their crimes,” Attorney Assistant Mark Lesko said in a statement.
“If not banned, the proliferation of cybercrime threatens privacy and security around the world.”
The UAE ambassador to Washington, DC, did not immediately respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment Tuesday evening.
The Justice Department said it had repeatedly warned the trio that their work was for security purposes that required special permits by the US government. For its part, the FBI has promised to crack down on American money launderers.
“The FBI will fully investigate individuals and companies that benefit from crime prevention cases,” said Bryan Vorndran, director of FBI’s cyber division.
“This is a clear message for everyone, including former US government officials, who have decided to use the internet to access information exported to support a foreign government or foreign company – there is a risk, and there will be consequences.”
The Reuters news agency reported that Baier, Adams and Gericke had served as a cover for Project Raven, which had helped the UAE defeat its enemies around the world.
Baier, a former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) official, was in charge of Project Raven, according to 2019 Reuters Survey first revealing the existence of a fraudulent group.
Baier will pay the largest share of the fine – $ 750,000, according to the Justice department – while Adams and Gericke pay $ 600,000 and $ 335,000, respectively. All three have also admitted to giving permission to the US or foreign and cooperating with the FBI.
UAE has been criticized by human rights groups for cheating their opponents, including journalists and human rights activists.
A study supported by several journalists revealed earlier this year that more and more phone numbers were being used against Pegasus, a spy program developed by the Israeli business company NSO Group, was connected to the UAE.
The UAE has denied allegations of using Pegasus at the time, saying it “has no evidence”.