U.S. prosecutor to be stationed at Europol for cyber crimes

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The United States will post a prosecutor at Europol, Europe's police agency, to enable closer cooperation on international cyber crime investigations, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Wednesday.

Lynch made the announcement during a visit to the organization that was focused on jointly fighting cyber crime.

"This person will be a day-to-day presence for all issues," Lynch said in The Hague.

Europol director Rob Wainwright said having a U.S. prosecutor at hand would make it easier to enlist the cooperation of large U.S.-based technology companies in international cyber crime investigations.

"The work of the tech companies, and particularly those in the United States such as Microsoft, are so vital to the work of the police in identifying and hunting down these cyber criminals," he said.

"So to have a prosecutor that can provide us the legal platform to get access to the information held by those tech companies ... is going to be a huge boost to our overall impact."

U.S. and European law enforcement agencies have already been cooperating closely on cyber crime, Lynch said. She cited investigations into "botnet" networks of hacked computers and the dismantling of "dark web" marketplaces where illegal drugs, weapons and services are sold.

The appointment will formalize the cooperation and make it easier to take quick decisions in evolving investigations, Lynch said. She cited resolving jurisdictional issues in an evolving investigation as an example.

Europol, with roughly 950 staff, coordinates investigations across Europe, including people trafficking, money laundering and counterfeiting and organized crime.

(Reporting By Anthony Deutsch and Toby Sterling; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Larry King)