Spain agrees to extradite British man who hacked the Twitter accounts of Biden and Obama from Malaga
The United States accuses Joseph James O'Connor, known as Plugwalk Joe, of fourteen crimes including, extortion, illegal access to computer systems, computer fraud and money laundering
Friday, 10 March 2023
Spain has agreed to extradite Joseph James O'Connor, also known as 'Plugwalk Joe', to the United States. The 23-year-old British man is accused of having launched a series of virtual attacks from Malaga in July 2020, which included the alleged hacking of the Twitter accounts of, among others Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Bill Gates. He is also accused of extorting money from another personality and being involved in various robberies over the internet.
The National Court has agreed to hand over O'Connor to face fourteen criminal charges in the United States. In Spain, according to the interpretation of the judges, these charges would be equivalent to the crimes of discovery and disclosure of secrets, belonging to a criminal organisation, extortion, illegal access to computer systems, computer fraud and money laundering.
The court rejected all the arguments put forward by the defendant's defence team, including the disproportionality of the sentences to which he could be sentenced in the United States or that the jurisdiction for the prosecution should fall to the Spanish courts since the computer servers used were in Spain.
The investigation carried out by the United States, alleges that O’Connor led a campaign of cyberattacks against 130 Twitter accounts as well as hacking the Snapchat account of a public figure who he tried to extort money from by threatening to spread nude photos of him.
Authorities in Washington have also linked the accused to several incidents of 'swatting', making of false hoax calls to emergency services. O'Connor allegedly called the police with false threats, including blowing up an airport and that an armed man wanted to kill his wife and children.