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27/03/2023 | United States charges Russian spy who lived in Maryland using forged identity

Joseph Fitsanakis

A RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE OPERATIVE, who lived in Maryland using forged Brazilian identity documents, has been charged with espionage and other crimes by the United States Department of Justice.

 

Victor Muller Ferreira, a Brazilian national, was stopped from entering the Netherlands in June of last year, where he had intended to join the International Criminal Court (IOC) as an intern.

Shortly after Muller was stopped at Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport, the Netherlands General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) revealed that he was in fact Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, a 36-year-old Russian citizen. According to the AIVD, Cherkasov had worked for over a decade as an intelligence officer for the Main Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces’ General Staff, which is commonly known in the intelligence field as GRU.

A few days after Cherkasov returned to Brazil, a federal court in Guarulhos, a suburb of Sao Paolo, found him guilty of having used the identity of a dead Brazilian citizen to forge identity papers, which he then used to enter and leave Brazil 15 times over 10 years. The 10-year period had started in 2010, when Cherkasov had entered Brazil using his real Russian identity. But when he left the country a few months later, he did so using the forged identity that had allegedly been provided to him by Russian intelligence. Having examined the charges against Cherkasov, the court jailed him for 15 years.

Now the United States Department of Justice has charged Cherkasov with a list of new crimes, including acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign power and repeatedly carrying out visa, bank and wire fraud. The charges resulted from an investigation that was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s counterintelligence division, in coordination with the Bureau’s Washington Field Office.

The charges stem from the years 2018-2020, when Cherkasov used his forged Brazilian identity to enroll as Master’s student at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. Cherkasov successfully completed his graduate degree in 2020. Two years later, he left for the Netherlands, where he hoped to enter employment in the IOC.

Intelnews.org (Estados Unidos)

 



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