Alleged Russian spy attempted to infiltrate the International Criminal Court as an intern, say Dutch authorities
According to the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD), a suspected operative of Russia’s GRU military intelligence service had posed as a 33-year-old man from Brazil and traveled to the Netherlands from Brazil in April.
He had successfully applied to be an intern at the ICC in The Hague and was traveling to the Netherlands to commence his internship, AIVD said Thursday in a news release
Upon arrival in the Netherlands, he was deemed a “potentially very high” threat and refused entry, then sent back to Brazil.
“An officer of this kind is better known as an ‘illegal’: an intelligence officer who received a long and extensive training. Because of their alias identity, illegals are difficult to discover. For that reason they often remain undetected, allowing them to carry out intelligence activities. Because they present themselves as foreigners, they have access to information that would be inaccessible to a Russian national,” AIVD said.
Among other cases, the ICC is currently investigating allegations of Russian war crimes in Ukraine and of crimes committed during the Russian war in Georgia in 2008. Accordingly, internal access to the ICC would have been “highly valuable” to Russian intelligence services, AIVD said.
Detained in Brazil
The man has been detained in Brazil where “he is subject to criminal action for fifteen uses of false documents and remains in custody awaiting the sentence of the first degree,” Brazilian police said.
“Using a sophisticated falsification system, he assumed the forged identity of a Brazilian man, whose parents are deceased,” Brazilian police said.
He had previously lived in Ireland and the United States passing himself off as a Brazilian, police added.
AIVD on Thursday also released a four-page cover story that it said the alleged spy had probably written himself, including facts about his supposed family and life, including a crush on a fictional geography teacher.
According to the document, his mother collected butterflies, and he worked at a garage that smelled of “lubricant and vulcanised rubber.” It goes so far as to specify that a poster of Veronica Castro, and later Pamela Anderson, hung on the door of the garage’s supply cabinet.
The elaborate fictional biography explains how he ended up in Brasilia — after meeting his estranged father in Rio, he says he decided to move to Brasillia to learn Portugese — and even offers the address of a trap music club that his persona frequented. Notably, it excludes any mention of his current employment.
CNN has reached out to Russian authorities for comment.