Washington: The US Justice Department indicted seven agents of Russia's GRU military intelligence agency as part of a joint crackdown with Western allies on a series of major hacking plots attributed to Moscow.
The indictments were announced as Dutch security services said they had thwarted a cyber attack on the global chemical weapons watchdog, the OPCW -- expelling four Russian agents -- and after Britain and Australia blamed the GRU for plots that notably targeted the US Democratic Party and global sports bodies.
John Demers, US Assistant Attorney General for National Security, confirmed the seven agents were indicted in connection to the attack on the OPCW, on football's governing body FIFA and the US and global anti-doping agencies, and on the US nuclear energy company Westinghouse among others.
The indictments also include charges of money laundering using bitcoin, wire fraud and identify theft.
"Nations like Russia and others that engage in malicious and norm-shattering cyber and influence activities should understand the continuing and steadfast resolve of the United States and its allies to prevent, disrupt and deter such unaccountable conduct," Demers told a news conference.
"The defendants in this case should know that justice is very patient, its reach is long and its memory is even longer," he said.
The defendants, all Russian nationals and residents, were named as Alexei Sergeyevich Morenets, 41, Evgenii Mikhaylovich, 37, Yevgeny Serebryakov, 37, Ivan Yermakov, 32, Artem Malyshev, 30, and Dmitriy Badin, 27, and Oleg Sotnikov, 46, and Alexei Minin, 46.
While the latest case did not arise from US Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election meddling, it overlaps with it.