After Smuggling, Moscow Denies New U.S. Spy Ring
By Nastassia Astrasheuskaya and Maria Tsvetkova/Reuters
In 2010, the United States arrested 10 suspected Russian agents who were later sent back to Russia in the biggest spy swap since the Cold War.
SECURITY EXPERTS PUZZLED
The U.S. Justice Department said 11 people, and companies based in Houston, Texas and Moscow, had been accused on Wednesday of illegally exporting high-tech components to Russian security agencies. The U.S. companies from whom the components were bought were not identified.
A U.S. official said Alexander Fishenko, a Kazakhstan native who migrated to the United States in 1994 and has frequently travelled to Russia, had been charged with operating in the United States as an unregistered agent of the Russian government. He was being held in custody with seven others in Houston.
The Justice Department said three others were in Russia including Sergei Klinov, identified as CEO of Apex System, which it said served as a certified supplier of military equipment to Russia’s government, working through subsidiaries.
Klinov, reached by telephone in his office in Moscow, said he had learned about the accusations from media reports.
“Honestly, I am very upset. I just don’t know what to say. Everyone has his own truth and it is somewhere in the middle,” he told Reuters.
Asked whether he worked either for the security services or for the Defence Ministry, he said: “I am floored by this. I don’t know what I’m supposed to say.”
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), successor of the KGB, and the Defence Ministry denied immediate comment.