File Photo: A supporter waves a Russian flag in front of the logo of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at their headquarters on Dec. 5, 2017 in Pully near Lausanne. The International Olympic Committee opened a high-stakes summit on Dec. 5 on whether to bar Russia from the Winter Olympics over allegations its medal haul at the 2014 Sochi Games was fuelled by state-sponsored doping. (Xinhua/AFP)
WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- The United States Department of Justice on Thursday announced criminal charges against seven Russian nationals, accusing them hacking and spreading misinformation.
The defendants, all allegedly intelligence officers with the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate, committed computer hacking, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering, according to the statement.
The statement also accused the defendants of retaliating against international anti-doping officials who exposed Russian doping scandals, saying that they did so by spreading stolen information on these officials.
All of the defendants resides in Russia, and there's little possibility that the United States would take them into custody.
In July 2016, the World Anti-Doping Agency said in a report that Russia sponsored the subversion of the drug testing process prior to, during, and subsequent to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. As a result approximately 111 Russian athletes were excluded from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.