DOJ charges alleged Russian spy who used fake identity to enter U.S.

Signage outside the Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 17, 2023. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Justice has announced charges against a Russian national who is accused of using a false identity to enter the U.S. and obtain information from Americans.

Driving the news: Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, 37, was charged Friday for acting as an agent of a foreign power, visa fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, and other charges, the Department of Justice said.

  • Cherkasov served as an agent for a Russian intelligence service under the Brazilian alias of Victor Muller Ferreira, per the DOJ.
  • He started acting as an agent in 2012 in Brazil before moving to the U.S. in 2018 after he was admitted to a graduate program in Washington, D.C, the Justice Department said.
  • "While in the United States, Cherkasov obtained information about U.S. persons that he passed to his [Russian Intelligence Service] handlers," per the DOJ.

Zoom in: Cherkasov allegedly sought information from Americans about their views towards a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine.

  • "I was working with my contacts … to find out what the academic community, political advisors and analysts think about the recent Russian military build-up near the Ukrainian border," Cherkasov allegedly wrote in one message in Nov. 2021, per the criminal complaint filed Friday.
  • "Especially I was aiming to find out what are their advice to the administration," he allegedly said in the message.

The big picture: The Netherlands' security service last year foiled a Russian plan for Cherkasov to use a false identity to infiltrate the International Criminal Court (ICC) through an internship.

  • Cherkasov was denied entry to the Netherlands and was declared an unwanted alien and sent back to Brazil.
  • Cherkasov is currently incarcerated in Brazil on fraud charges, per the DOJ.

Go deeper… Hungary would not arrest Putin despite ICC warrant, official says

Source: Read Full Article