Dutch minister approves extradition of Russian alleged hacker wanted in the United States

The Dutch government has approved the extradition to the United States of a Russian citizen accused of participating in a hacking ring that penetrated computer networks of more than a dozen corporations and stole at least 160 million credit and debit card numbers.

Vladimir Drinkman is one of four Russians and a Ukrainian indicted last year in New Jersey for the hacking, which resulted in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars and has been described as the largest data breach ever prosecuted in the U.S.

Justice and Security Ministry spokesman Job van de Sande said Tuesday minister Ivo Opstelten has approved the extradition of Drinkman, a key hurdle before he can be sent to face U.S. justice.

Drinkman's lawyer, Bart Stapert, didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.