Netherlands says it deported Russian spy posing as a Brazilian citizen

Netherlands says it deported Russian spy posing as a Brazilian citizen

The Dutch Intelligence Service announced this Thursday (16) that it had prevented a Russian spy posing as a Brazilian citizen from infiltrating the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, responsible for investigating, among other accusations, possible war crimes. committed in the Ukrainian War.

The man, identified as Sergei Vladimirovitch Tcherkasov, would work for the GRU, the Russian Defense military intelligence unit, and would have posed as Viktor Muller Ferreira to enter Dutch territory. The episode took place in April, but was only publicly disclosed now, in an official statement.

Dutch intelligence released documents with the story presented by the alleged spy. He claimed to have been born on April 4, 1989 in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, and described a personal saga with several episodes of financial difficulties and paternal abandonment.

In the document, permeated by black stripes that hide part of the content, the man says he lived abroad for years, accompanied by an aunt, after his mother died of pneumonia. He would not be fluent in Portuguese, and it is understood that Spanish was one of his languages.

The Dutch body said the man was deported back to Brazil and that the case was considered a threat to national security. Itamaraty was asked about the matter, but did not respond until the publication of this text.

“If the intelligence officer had been able to gain access to the ICC, he would have been able to gather information and recruit sources; he might have been able to influence criminal prosecutions,” an excerpt from the statement reads. “By presenting themselves as foreigners, they [espiões] have access to information that would be inaccessible to a Russian citizen.”

Dutch intelligence chief Erik Akerboom told Reuters that the threat was classified as high-level and reveals Russia’s modus operandi. “It clearly shows us what the Russians are doing — trying to gain illegal access to information within the ICC.”

In the material made public, the man claims that he was abandoned by his father, who lived most of the time outside the country. He was then raised by his mother, who performed musically. When she got sick, an aunt who also didn’t live in Brazil came to pick him up.

Among other episodes, he describes a financial crisis in 2001 that made the family’s situation even worse. He also mentions Spanish classes at school and episodes in which he drank chimarrão. When he was still in Brazil, he says he remembers the Presidente Costa e Silva bridge, known as the Rio-Niterói bridge, and says that’s why he doesn’t like the smell of fish.

He also claims to have obtained a bachelor’s degree in the humanities and considered working as a journalist or political commentator. After his aunt’s death, he looked for his father in Rio de Janeiro and, despite getting in touch, he was frustrated with the conversation they had.

From there, he says he went to Brasília, where “in parallel with the restoration of citizenship”, he had private Portuguese lessons. About the capital, he lists places he liked to go to, such as the restaurant A Tribo — which, in fact, exists. “This restaurant makes the best feijoada in town.”

Dutch intelligence says the document was probably written in 2010 by Cherkasov himself, so that he could memorize the version, which mixes facts with impressions created about the places. “This was a long-term GRU operation that cost a lot of time, energy and money,” Erik Akerboom told Reuters.

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