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Lithuania to extradite $100 mn email fraud suspect to US

© AFP/File | Evaldas Rimasauskas is pictured in district court in Vilnius in May 2017

VILNIUS (AFP) - 

A Lithuanian man who allegedly swindled $100 million (87 million euros) from tech giants Google and Facebook must be extradited to the United States, a court ruled on Monday.

"The court has ruled in favour of extraditing Lithuanian citizen Evaldas Rimasauskas to the United States for criminal prosecution," Judge Aiva Surviliene said.

The 48-year-old was arrested in March in the Baltic state at the request of US authorities, who accuse him of deceiving the two US firms in 2013-2015 by posing as a large Asia-based hardware vendor.

Facebook and Google are mentioned in the indictment, Rimasauskas's lawyer confirmed to AFP.

In a public statement, US prosecutors said Rimasauskas used "email accounts that were designed to create the false appearance that they were sent by employees and agents" of the Asian manufacturer.

He is also accused of forging invoices, contracts and letters to trick the companies into wiring over $100 million to overseas bank accounts under his control, according to prosecutors.

The scam was pulled off using deception and no Google systems were hacked, according to the California-based internet giant.

Google updated its internal processes to guard against similar incidents and recovered the money lost.

"We detected this fraud against our vendor management team and promptly alerted the authorities," a Google spokesman told AFP.

"We recouped the funds and we're pleased this matter is resolved."

Facebook did not respond to an AFP request for comment

Rimasauskas faces a maximum of 20 years in jail if convicted, the judge said.

Rimasauskas's lawyer, Snieguole Uzdaviniene, said she would appeal.

© 2017 AFP