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CRIME

Lyon serial rapist puts students on high alert

University students in Lyon have been warned to be on their guard as police hunt a knife-wielding rapist they believe is behind five attacks on women in the city in recent months.

Lyon serial rapist puts students on high alert
Photo: Mike Fitzsimmons

Police revealed on Monday they are hunting a suspected serial rapist they believe has carried out five sexual assaults since last October. Investigators decided to go public after rumours a serial attacker was on the loose had spread through social media.

Concerned university chiefs have now taken the step of writing to their 30,000 students warning them not to go out alone at night.

“We ask you to be careful when you are going from one place to another. Please do not go out unaccompanied and stay vigilant. This especially concerns female students,” wrote Jacques Comby, President of the University Lyon III.

Since October last year the attacker is believed to have struck at least five times in the eighth arrondissement of the city at around midnight.

In each case he has threatened his victims with a knife, leaving some of them with cuts to the skin, according to reports in French media. Police sources told French daily 20 Minutes that the attacker always wears a hood to help hide his identity.

His victims are all believed to be in their twenties. The last reported attack took place at the end of January.

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CRIME

Frenchman extradited to US on hacking charges pleads not guilty

Frenchman Sebastien Raoult pleaded not guilty to cybercrimes Friday in Seattle federal court, two days after he was extradited from Morocco.

Frenchman extradited to US on hacking charges pleads not guilty

Federal Judge Michelle Peterson told the 21-year-old Raoult that he was charged with nine counts, including conspiracy, computer intrusion, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Raoult listened through an interpreter.

After Raoult’s plea of not guilty, the judge ordered him to be detained as a flight risk until a hearing April 3.

Moroccan authorities arrested Raoult at Rabat airport May 31 at the request of the US Department of Justice. Along with Raoult, two other French nationals were also arrested, Gabriel Bildstein, 23, and Abdel-Hakim El-Ahmadi, 22.

According to Raoult’s indictment, he and the other two men are alleged to have formed a hacking team, dubbed “ShinyHunters,” to steal confidential data from 60 companies to sell on the dark web where criminals routinely operate.

Some of the companies are located in the Seattle area.

According to experts, beginning in 2020, the hackers stole customer data from the Indonesian e-commerce site Tokopedia, the US clothing brand Bonobos, the US telecom AT&T and many other companies, putting the personal data for sale on the dark web.

The criminal charges carry a possible jail term of up to 27 years in prison.

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