Konstantin Kozlovsky, a member of the Russian hacking collective Lurk, reportedly said during an interrogation that the group came under investigation only after it attempted to steal 23 million rubles ($357,650) from the company Concord Catering. Until very recently, the Concord conglomerate was owned by Evgeny Prigozhin, a restaurateur whose ties to private military companies and the Putin administration have earned him the nickname “Putin’s chef.”
According to a report by Znak.com, the Concord case became the trigger for prosecuting Lurk’s activities even though the group now stands accused of stealing more than three billion rubles ($46.65 million) from multiple other companies and banks. Kozlovsky himself has also claimed that he hacked the servers of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 U.S. election on orders from his Federal Security Service (FSB) handlers.
According to Kozlovsky, FSB agents gave Lurk data from Concord Catering in a kind of self-interested sting operation: The hacker argued that his handlers intended to ‘catch’ his group after they had targeted someone close to Putin in order to “increase their own authority” within the FSB. Messages sent among the Lurk hackers in May 2016 indicate that the group was not aware of the fact that Prigozhin owned the company they were attacking.
Kozlovsky has named FSB employee Dmitry Dokuchayev as his primary handler. Dokuchaev was sentenced to six years in prison for treason in April 2019.