A Ukrainian man wanted in the United States for alleged multimillion dollar computer crimes was moved to a detention center Thursday ahead of his extradition to California to face court proceedings, an official said.

Maksym Kovalchuk of Ternopil, Ukraine, smiled at journalists as he was taken in a caged truck from Bangkok Remand Prison to the Special Branch Police Bureau near Thailand's international airport.

He was charged in 2000 in San Jose, Calif., with trafficking counterfeit goods, copyright infringement, money laundering and possession of unauthorized credit card information.

Kovalchuk was arrested May 20, 2003, in the Thai capital Bangkok. He was 25 at the time.

A U.S. Embassy official, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, said the formalities of handing over Kovalchuk to U.S. authorities would be completed Thursday. He would not say if Kovalchuk would leave Thursday night or Friday.

Kovalchuk allegedly sold counterfeit software from companies such as Microsoft Corp., Autodesk, Adobe and Macromedia through various Web sites. The retail value of the original products would have totaled $3 million, authorities said. Kovalchuk faces 20 years imprisonment and a $500,000 fine if convicted of money laundering, the most serious charge he faces.

SFGate
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steal.

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