Canadian accused in Yahoo hack boasted of lavish lifestyle online
Published Wednesday, March 15, two thousand seventeen Three:04PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 15, two thousand seventeen Four:00PM EDT
The Canadian man arrested in connection with a massive email hack at Yahoo emerges to have a strong presence on social media, where he frequently boasts about his wealth, his exotic car collection and his love for working out.
Police say Karim Baratov, 22, was arrested without incident in Ancaster, Ont., on Tuesday, at the request of U.S. authorities.
The U.S. Department of Justice says a grand jury in California indicted Baratov along with three others, including two alleged officers of the Russian Federal Security Service, for economic espionage, computer hacking and several other criminal offences.
On Twitter, Kazakhstan’s foreign affairs ministry said Baratov was a citizen of the country until 2011. The Department of Justice named him as a dual Canadian-Kazakh national.
Social media accounts matching Baratov’s name and the photo released by the Department of Justice indicate he had a strong online presence under variations of the screenname “Mr. Karim.” Baratov emerges in most of the photos on the @mrkarrrim Instagram account, which has more than 28,000 followers.
“I’m 22. Workaholic. Occasional drawer. (sic) Gym rat. Cars are everything. Sleep is optional,” @mrkarrrim’s Instagram profile says. “Don’t go after me, I’m boring.”
His last Instagram post was published early Tuesday. The picture shows up to demonstrate Baratov holding a Crimson Bull in a nightclub, alongside another man and a woman. “Quality #family time,” he wrote in the post.
A Facebook account in Baratov’s name, with photos matching his appearance, lists Ancaster, Ont. as his home and Moscow as his city of origin.
In a Facebook post published on Feb. 14, Baratov says he was expelled from school exactly four years ago for “menacing to kill my ex-friend as a joke.” He says the time off school “permitted me to work on my online projects 24/7, and indeed stir my businesses to the next level.”
Officials say the Yahoo hack affecting five hundred million accounts occurred in January of 2014. Another breach affecting one billion users occurred in August of 2013.
In Baratov’s post, he brags about the money he made while attending high school, which he used to buy a BMW seven series and pay off the mortgage on his very first house. “However, all the extra free time permitted me to make triple and even quadruple the normal amount. By the time my suspension was done, I switched my entire life plan!” he wrote.
He says he insulted his principal so he could get expelled, then finished his education online. “My advice to you is (to) give yourself permission to get the most out of your life,” he wrote. “Taking shortcuts doesn’t mean shortcutting the end result.”
Baratov affixed several photos to the post, which demonstrate him posing with various expensive sports cars, including an Audi, a BMW and a Lamborghini. Licence plates on the cars read “MR KARIM” or “MR KARRRIM.”
Other photos online showcase Baratov working out.
Other posts on Baratov’s Facebook page showcase what show up to be his drawings. One pic, titled “Hidden Desires” in the post, shows a house, a sports car, a bag of money and a silhouetted woman on a stripper pole, contained inwards the outline of Baratov’s head.
Another picture shows a self-portrait that bears a strong resemblance to the DOJ picture.
All of the pics are signed “Mr. Karim.”
Baratov “liked” a long list of pages on Facebook, including many workout, nightclub and exotic car pages.
In terms of politics, Baratov liked Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary, U.S. President Donald Trump, and pages mocking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. His other interests include Starlet Wars, Resident Evil, Game of Thrones and Tila Tequila.
A tattoo on his arm, which was finished eight weeks ago, includes his “Mr. Karim” nickname, written in binary code. Baratov shows off the tattoo in an Instagram post.
None of the allegations have been tested in court.