Russian spy tried to infiltrate war crimes court, claims Dutch intelligence

Russian spy tried to infiltrate war crimes court, claims Dutch intelligence
Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov tried to enter the Netherlands as a Brazilian national

A Russian spy used a false identity to apply for an internship and try to infiltrate the International Criminal Court (ICC), claims the Dutch intelligence service.

Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov created an elaborate cover story dating back years to try and enter the Netherlands as a Brazilian national to get the job at the Hague-based court in April.

“This was a long-term, multi-year GRU operation that cost a lot of time, energy and money,” said Dutch intelligence agency chief Erik Akerboom, using the acronym for Russia’s military intelligence service.

The Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) said in a statement that the man, who went by the alias Viktor Muller Ferreira, was picked up at a Dutch airport.

He was declared an undesirable alien and put on the next flight back to Brazil, where he faces court proceedings, it added.

“It clearly shows us what the Russians are up totrying to gain illegal access to information within the ICC. We classify this as a high-level threat,” Akerboom added, saying the ICC had accepted him for an internship.

ICC spokesperson Sonia Robla said the court was grateful to the Dutch authorities for the operation and the exposing of security risks. “The ICC takes these threats very seriously and will continue to work and cooperate with The Netherlands," hun sa.

Dutch intelligence said that Cherkasov had a lengthy cover story that included a troubled family past, details from a club where he would listen to trance music, and his favourite restaurant that served bean stew.

“Cherkasov used a well-constructed cover identity by which he concealed all his ties with Russia in general, and the GRU in particular,"Heter det i uttalelsen.

The ICC, a permanent global war crimes tribunal with 123 medlemsland, opened an investigation in Ukraina just days after Putin sent his troops in on February 24. It is examining allegations of war crimes, forbrytelser mot menneskeheten og folkemord.

There was no immediate reaction from Moscow, however spying accusations are often met with denials.

Ytterligere rapportering fra Reuters

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