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Sébastien Raoult's father evokes the “mistake of youth.”

Sébastien Raoult's father evokes the “mistake of youth.”

Former French student Sébastien Raoult was arrested by the FBI in 2022 and extradited to the US, where he was charged with cybercrime. His sentencing is scheduled for Thursday, January 11.

A waiting father. Paul Raoult speaks on BFMTV this Sunday, January 7, after his son Sébastien Raoult was arrested in 2022 on cybercrime charges and jailed in the US. His son's sentencing is expected on Thursday.

“Not Guilty”

“Maybe a mistake in youth had serious consequences,” asks Paul Raoult into our microphone, believing his son “may have lost his way.”

“He is not a criminal. He has never been in trouble with the law, he has a moral sense,” she still pleads, adding that her son is in prison in the US.

A 23-year-old former French computer science student has been accused by a US judge of hacking millions of data from major companies, including several US companies. He then allegedly resold them on online black markets or used them for extortion.

A father in the dark

Three years after the alleged events, his father says he has “absolutely no idea” the truth about the affair.

“We don't have time (to talk about it) because our conversations (while her son is in jail) via email or phone are being monitored and the investigation is on, so we don't have to talk,” she says.

“Now, what's important is that he gets his act together and gets back on the right side of things,” he wants to hope.

“End of the Tunnel”

In the days leading up to his son's sentencing, Paul Raoult assures Sébastien, who is in “regular” contact by email and phone, is “very calm”.

“He can finally plan his future,” his father consoles himself.

“A little tunnel has been completed. For 20 months Sebastian has been living day to day without being able to plan ahead. At least I want to know what is happening there (…). To prepare for his next release, we hope,” he maintains.

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“We don't make kids imagine themselves at 21 (the age of arrest, editor's note) for the rest of their lives,” he says.

Imprisonment up to 29 years

Sébastien Raoult, who was arrested in May 2022 by the FBI while in Morocco, first spent 6 months behind bars in the North African country before being extradited to the United States in January 2023.

Since then, he has been held in a Seattle jail awaiting trial. After denying the facts, Sébastien Raoult agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

This option, which is generally practiced in the United States, reduces the penalty imposed on him. That goes to 116 years for the 23-year-old Frenchman, or a maximum of 29 years from life imprisonment.

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