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Robert Mueller (above) is reported to have created a grand jury to probe Russia’s interference with the 2016 US presidential election.
Robert Mueller (above) is reported to have created a grand jury to probe Russia’s interference with the 2016 US presidential election.PHOTO: REUTERS

Grand jury created for Trump-Russia probe: Report

Special counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury to investigate Russia’s interference with the 2016 presidential election, The Wall Street Journal reported – a step towards possible criminal indictments.

The newspaper, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the matter, reported that the grand jury had begun its work in the US capital Washington “in recent weeks.”

The move is a sign that the sweeping federal investigation – which includes allegations that Trump campaign officials coordinated with Russia to tilt the election in the Republican’s favour – is gathering pace.

The establishment of a grand jury will allow Mueller – a former FBI director – to subpoena documents and get sworn testimony. It could lead to criminal indictments.

“It’s a significant escalation of the process,” national security attorney Bradley Moss told AFP. “You don’t impanel a grand jury unless your investigation has discovered enough evidence that you feel reflects a violation of at least one, if not more, criminal provisions,” he said.


Cyber expert who stopped 'WannaCry' attack arrested on unrelated hacking charges

A cyber security researcher widely credited with helping to neutralise the global “WannaCry” ransomware attack earlier this year has been arrested on unrelated hacking charges, according to court documents unsealed on Thursday.

Marcus Hutchins, a British-based malware researcher who gained attention for detecting a “kill switch” that effectively disabled the WannaCry worm in May, was detained by the FBI in Nevada on Wednesday, a Justice Department spokesman said, days after tens of thousands of hackers descended on Las Vegas for the annual Black Hat and Def Con security conferences.

An indictment filed in a US district court in Wisconsin accuses Hutchins, also known online as “MalwareTech,” of advertising, distributing and profiting from malware code known as Kronos that stole online banking credentials and credit card data.


Vietnam TV shows oil executive who Germany says was abducted

Vietnam's state television broadcast images on Thursday of a former oil executive saying he had voluntarily returned home to face justice for corruption after Germany said he was abducted in Berlin and taken back by force.

The German foreign ministry said on Wednesday that Vietnam had seized Trinh Xuan Thanh, 51, a former official at state oil company PetroVietnam, who is accused of financial mismanagement that caused losses of around US$150 million (S$200 million).

In response, Berlin ordered a Vietnamese intelligence officer to leave Germany within 48 hours and demanded that Thanh be allowed to return to claim asylum. Germany said it was considering other measures against Vietnam.

Thanh, 51, a former high flyer in the Vietnamese oil industry, appeared on state television looking tired, dressed in a polo shirt and with his hair tousled. It was unclear if he was speaking freely.


US crushes two tonnes of ivory in New York's Central Park

US officials destroyed nearly two tonnes of carved illegal ivory worth US$8-10 million (S$10-13 million) in New York's Central Park to denounce poaching that kills nearly 100 elephants a day in Africa.

On a brilliant summer's day with Manhattan's skyscrapers visible above the trees, decorative objects were placed on a conveyor belt and sent into a crusher, sending plumes of dust into the air to cheers.

The haul, which was the result of three years of hard investigative work in New York state, represents ivory from around 100 elephants.


Football: Neymar completes world record PSG move

Neymar’s world record move to Paris Saint-Germain was completed when the French club confirmed the Brazilian superstar had signed a five year-deal, earning him an estimated 30 million euros (S$48 million) a year.

The deal was signed just hours after the 25-year-old paid off his 222 million euro buyout clause to Barcelona.

PSG said that Neymar will be unveiled at a press conference at the club’s Parc des Princes at 1130GMT on Friday (7.30pm Singapore time).