(ed: ExpressVPN has issued a statement on its website (opens in new tab) explaining the role of Daniel Gericke in more details and why the company has stuck with his CIO.)
Daniel Gericke, chief information officer of ExpressVPN (opens in new tab), is among the three former US intelligence and military personnel who have agreed to jointly pay a fine of more than $1.6million to resolve cybercrime charges against them.
According to a release (opens in new tab) issued by the US Department of Justice (DoJ), the three have been charged for their involvement in Project Raven, where they allegedly worked as mercenary hackers for the United Arab Emirates.
“Despite being informed on several occasions that their work for U.A.E. CO, under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), constituted a “defense service” requiring a license from the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), the defendants proceeded to provide such services without a license,” explains the DoJ.
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The DoJ explains that three have decided to pay the fine to resolve the charges that included overseeing the creation of “zero-click computer hacking and intelligence gathering systems” for the UAE government.
Busy week for ExpressVPN
According to reports, Project Raven, first exposed in 2019 (opens in new tab), involved the creation and use of zero-click surveillance tools (opens in new tab) by the UAE allegedly against vocal critics of UAE’s human rights record.
The three defendants have now agreed to cooperate with US authorities and pay the fine in exchange for deferred prosecution.
The release notes that the three have also forfeited foreign and US security clearances and face future employment restrictions, though ExpressVPN stressed in an email to CNET that its trust in Gericke "remains strong."
"We've known the key facts relating to Daniel's employment history since before we hired him, as he disclosed them proactively and transparently with us from the start. In fact, it was his history and expertise that made him an invaluable hire for our mission to protect users' privacy (opens in new tab) and security," ExpressVPN told CNET.
Notably, the DoJ resolution comes on the heels of ExpressVPN’s acquisition (opens in new tab) by Kape Technologies in a deal valued close to $1 billion.
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Via CNET (opens in new tab)