Norwegian police on Monday arrested an academic working at the University of Tromsø in the Arctic Circle on suspicion of secret spying for Russiaaccording to Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.
Norwegian police told NRK that the man, a university researcher, claims to be a Brazilian citizen, but they suspect he may be using a false identity and could in fact be a Russian citizen.
“We have called for a Brazilian researcher from the University of Tromsø to be expelled from Norway because we believe he poses a threat to fundamental national interests,” said Hedvig Moe, deputy head of the Norwegian police security service. , speaking to NRK.
“The PST (Norwegian Police Security Service) is concerned that they have acquired a network and information about Norwegian politics in the northern region. Even if this network or the information gathered little by little does not pose a threat to security of the kingdom, we are concerned that this information may be misused by Russia,” Moe added.
CNN has contacted police for comment.
The agency did not reveal the man’s name but said on its Twitter account that he was suspected of breaching two sections of Norway’s criminal code, dealing with “unlawful information” that could “harm the interests fundamental national interests” and to the “security interests of other States.
PST said it was working closely with other countries’ intelligence agencies as they worked on the case.
Russian authorities have yet to comment on the arrest, but in an email to NRK, the Russian Embassy said it was unaware of the circumstances of the case and described it as part of the “spy mania” in Norway, where “everything Russian… is suspicious”. and it smells of espionage.
The public broadcaster said the case was being treated as an immigration case, and the man’s lawyer said he opposed detention and ‘did not agree with the basis of the case. this one”. He said he had received “so far very little concrete information about the case”.
In July, Richard Moore, head of Britain’s foreign intelligence service MI6, told CNN’s Jim Sciutto that since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, European countries have expelled “north of 400 Russian intelligence officers operating under diplomatic cover” across the bloc.
The country is on edge after a series of leaks in two Russian gas pipelines – both of which flow under the Baltic Sea near Sweden and Denmark – which the leaders of several countries have said is the likely result of sabotage.
The leaks happened just before the ceremonial launch of the Baltic Pipe carrying gas from Norway to Poland, a centerpiece of Warsaw’s efforts to diversify from Russian supplies.
In June, Dutch authorities said they foiled an attempt by a Russian spy to gain access to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by posing as an intern.
They identified him as Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, a Russian military intelligence officer who traveled to the Netherlands in April to begin an internship at the International Criminal Court (ICC). From there, he would have had a perch to spy on war crimes investigations into Russian military actions in Ukraine and elsewhere, sources say.