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Dutch agency claims to have foiled Russian spy attempt to infiltrate ICC | News | DW

The General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands (AIVD) said on Thursday that it had prevented a Russian spy from entering the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

What do we know so far?

The man, identified as 36-year-old Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, had built up a false Brazilian identity over the years and had come to the Netherlands earlier in the year to intern at the ICC. According to investigators in the Netherlands, he was linked to the Russian agency GRU, a military intelligence service.

Under the pseudonym Viktor Muller Ferreira, “he was supposed to start an internship at the ICC, which would mean he would have access to the ICC building and systems,” the AIVD said.

If Cherkasov had succeeded in penetrating the ICC, “he could have gathered intelligence there and sought (or recruited) sources, and arranged to gain access to the digital systems of the ICC”, added the agency. “He could also have influenced the criminal proceedings of the ICC.”

The ICC opened a war crimes investigation in Ukraine shortly after the Russian invasion began in February. The ICC is also investigating Russia’s attack on Georgia in 2008.

“This was a long-term, multi-year GRU operation that cost a lot of time, energy and money,” Dutch intelligence official Erik Akerboom said.

Suspect returned to Brazil from the Netherlands

According to the Dutch, they discovered his false identity in April when he was trying to enter the country, denied him access and put him “on the first flight back” to Brazil. Brazilian police also said they arrested an unidentified man in April after being refused entry to the Netherlands, who may be the same individual.

The Russian national first traveled to Brazil in 2010 where he began to establish his cover identity, and has also resided in Ireland and the United States. Dutch intelligence services allege he had built an elaborate story for his false identity over a period of 12 years.

Russia has so far not reacted.

The ICC, which was made aware of the espionage attempt, told AFP news agency that the court “is very grateful to the Netherlands for this important operation and more generally for revealing the security threats”. .

In 2018, the Netherlands arrested and expelled four GRU members who sought to hack into the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Wi-Fi network.

wd/msh (Reuters, AP, AFP)


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Post expires at 12:33pm on Monday June 27th, 2022