MOSCOW (AP) — The chief executive of Russia’s Kaspersky Lab says he’s ready to have his company’s source code examined by U.S. government officials to help dispel long-lingering suspicions about his company’s ties to the Kremlin.
In an interview with The Associated Press at his Moscow headquarters, Eugene Kaspersky said Saturday that he’s also ready to move part of his research work to the U.S. to help counter rumors that he said were first started more than two decades ago out of professional jealousy.
“If the United States needs, we can disclose the source code,” he said, adding that he was ready to testify before U.S. lawmakers as well. “Anything I can do to prove that we don’t behave maliciously I will do it.”
Kaspersky, a mathematical engineer who attended a KGB-sponsored school and once worked for Russia’s Ministry of Defense, has long been eyed suspiciously by his competitors, particularly as his anti-virus products became popular in the U.S. market. Some speculate that Kaspersky, an engaging speaker and a fixture of the conference circuit, kept his Soviet-era intelligence connections. Others say it’s unlikely that his company could operate independently in Russia, where the economy is dominated by state-owned companies and the power of spy agencies has expanded dramatically under President Vladimir Putin.
No firm evidence has ever been produced to back up the claims. But this has not stopped what was once gossip at tech conferences from escalating into public accusations from American politicians and intelligence officials amid rising concerns over Russian interference in the United States.
Senior U.S. intelligence officials have advised Congress to steer well clear of Kaspersky’s products and Congress is weighing a proposal to ban the company from the Pentagon. Law enforcement seems to be taking a hard look at the company as well. On Wednesday, NBC news reported that at least a dozen U.S. employees…