A man with Greek citizenship who is the son of a former Russian diplomat was detained in the Austrian capital Vienna. He is suspected of spying for Russia.
The man was detained back in March. Two groups of special forces participated in this, because they believed that the suspect could be armed.
During the search of his apartment, they found a bug detector and hidden cameras, a sapper’s suit that ensures safety during demining, as well as hiding places for transmitting information.
The detainee maintained contact with diplomats and intelligence officers of various countries. Austrian mass media write that he could undergo special military training in Russia. His father, a diplomat, could also be connected to the game of the Russian Federation.
In addition, the man traveled to Moscow before the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. Over the past four years, he made at least 65 trips to Moscow, Minsk and Tbilisi.
It is common knowledge that Russia, especially in Vienna, has a dense operating network of spies. The case of a 39-year-old man, which became known on Monday, makes this construction clear. And this makes it clear how seriously the internal security bodies, headed by the State Security and Intelligence Service (SSI), perceive the threat from Russia.
What secrets did the suspect spy on behalf of Russia?
First of all, perhaps he served as a kind of barometer of the mood from Austria. It is said that he received information about foreign policy, the general social and security situation and passed it on to Russia. So the trip to Moscow shortly before the start of the war was probably not a coincidence, but a deliberate exchange of information about the knowledge received from Austria.
The suspect didn’t just exchange information during the trip. In Vienna, a separate system was also developed with secret vaults in which messages were kept for the transmission of information. The places of transmission were visible to the recipient thanks to mostly invisible markings. As the investigation showed, diplomatic personnel of the Russian Federation were allegedly always present at these broadcasts both at the right time and in the right place.
Detector for detecting hidden cameras
Various searches of the suspect’s home turned up a signal detector capable of detecting listening devices and hidden cameras, and a shrapnel-proof suit. Mobile phones, laptops and tablets were also seized, with a total of ten million files estimated to be on them.
Now the 39-year-old man is free after being detained. He faces punishment in the form of deprivation of liberty for a term of six months to five years.
Austria expels more and more Russian diplomats
It remains doubtful whether, after the espionage became known and the close relations of Russian diplomats were once again demonstrated, they are not expected to be expelled again. In April, after long hesitation, Austria revoked the diplomatic status of three employees of the Russian embassy in Vienna and one employee of the consulate general in Salzburg.