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'Happy hacker' arrest: Did police just nab a cyber crime 'botmaster'?

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"With just one transaction, he could earn 10 to 20 million dollars," police Lt. Gen. Phanu Kerdlabphol told reporters, as Bendelladj sat, beaming, beside him. "He's been traveling the world flying first-class and living a life of luxury."

Bendelladj, who reportedly earned a computer science degree at a university in Algeria in 2008, has denied that he used the money for personal expenses and travel and said he was not connected to any cybercrime syndicate, the Nation reported.

He also denied Thai officials' claims that he was on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list. (Indeed, he is not.)

"I'm not in the top 10, maybe just 20th or 50th," Bendelladj said with a laugh. "I am not a terrorist."

Still, Bendelladj now sits in a Thai jail awaiting extradition to the United States. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, through its offices in Georgia, has been pursuing him for three years, Thai police said. The FBI tipped off Thai police about Bendelladj's visit, so that they could arrest him at Bangkok’s Suvarnnabhumi airport, where he was awaiting a connecting flight to Cairo after arriving from Malaysia, Immigration Police Deputy Chief Preecha Thimamontri said at the press conference.

The FBI has not released any information about Bendelladj's alleged criminal activities. "We are not in a position to comment because it's part of an ongoing investigation," an FBI spokesman told the Monitor. The case, she said, is being handled by the FBI's office in Georgia's Northern district.

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