04/20/2021

Italian frigate captain arrested for selling classified documents to Russian military attaché in Rome

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The investigation body of the Arma de Carabinieri detained an officer of the Italian Navy (Frigate Captain), on Tuesday night, immediately after, in exchange for money, he handed over secret Italian and NATO documents, to a Russian military officer accredited to the Russian Embassy in Rome. They were caught red-handed during their clandestine encounter. The two soldiers are accused of serious crimes related to espionage and state security. The Russian officer couldn’t be arrested because his diplomatic status.

The Navy frigate captain is in jail, accused of having sold secret documents, both Italian and NATO. In the search carried out in his apartment, it has been shown that, in addition to Italian reports, the frigate captain gave the Russian military NATO documents, considered highly secret. Hence the accusation of a serious crime not only against national security, but also against other States.

The first sign of the relations between the two soldiers was given weeks ago by the Italian secret services (the Information and Internal Security Agency, AISI). AISI controlled the movements of the two soldiers was then established, in collaboration with agents of the ROS of the Carabinieri Army and the Defense General Staff. When the agents were certain that the officer of the Russian armed forces had money to pay for the documents and, in addition, there was evidence to prove the espionage, the order was given for the ROS police to act. Under the direction of the Rome Prosecutor’s Office, the carabinieri arrested the two soldiers in the act, just after the delivery of the secret documents in exchange for money.

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Italy expelled two Russian officials
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the Secretary General, the diplomat Elisabetta Belloni, number two in the Ministry, this morning summoned the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Rome, Sergey Razov, following the instructions of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio. Di Maio himself wrote on Facebook: “When the Russian ambassador to Italy was summoned to the ministry, we conveyed to the latter the firm protest of the Italian government and notified the immediate expulsion of the two Russian officials involved in this very serious matter. I thank our intelligence services and all the state apparatuses that work every day for the security of our country.

For its part, the Russian Embassy commented: “We confirmed the arrest on March 30 in Rome of an official from the office of the Military Attaché. We are verifying the circumstances of what happened. For now, we consider it inappropriate to comment on the content of the incident. In any case, we hope that what happened is not reflected in the bilateral relations between Russia and Italy.