Russian spy tries to break into war crimes court, Dutch

The Netherlands told the International Criminal Court investigating Ukrainian war crimes Thursday that it had stopped Russian spies disguised as Brazilian intern from invading.

The Russian, identified as Sergei Vladivostok Cerkasov, 36, flew to the Netherlands in April using the elaborate cover story he had built over the last 12 years.

However, Dutch officials said they saw his false identity as a 33-year-old Brazilian citizen named Victor Muller Ferreira and masked him as an agent for GRU military intelligence in Moscow.

Cerkasov returned to Brazil on the next plane, and police said he was arrested for identity fraud.

The Dutch may have access to “very valuable” information about the ICC’s investigation into war crimes in Ukraine, or may have influenced criminal proceedings in a court based in The Hague. Said there is.

The head of the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) in the Netherlands said it was “very rare” to catch Russian agents “of this caliber”.

“GRU has spent years creating this fake identity, which is a huge effort,” Erik Akerboom was reportedly said by the Dutch ANP news agency.

“Cover identity”

Cerkasov is the so-called “illegal”, a spy term for agents who have lived abroad for years under fake identities, and its “well-built cover identity” has hidden all relations with Russia. AIVD said.

In a scene that may have come from a spy novel, the Dutch released a four-page document around 2010 that set the “legend” of Cherkasov, likely written by Cherkasov himself.

The very detailed Portuguese document contains grammatical errors, but it contains stories about his career, including problems with his parents, hatred for fish, and setbacks for his teacher.

He was also called “Gringo” because he “looked like a German” and said it included the full address of a Brasílian restaurant with “the best brown stew in town” and trance music. With a club trying to hide doubts about his Brazilian heritage, in an obvious attempt to back up his cover story.

However, Dutch intelligence identified him as a “threat to national security” and notified the Immigration Bureau.

“For these reasons, intelligence personnel were denied entry into the Netherlands in April and were declared unacceptable. He was sent back to Brazil on his first flight,” AIVD said.

A Russian internship would have given him access to the ICC’s buildings and systems while investigating war crimes in Ukraine, including Russian crimes since the invasion on February 24.

“For these reasons, confidential access to information from the International Criminal Court would be of great value to Russian intelligence,” AIVD said.

If the Russian spy was successful, he added, “He could have gathered information there, searched for (or recruited) sources, and arranged for access to the ICC’s digital system.”

“He could also have influenced the ICC’s criminal procedure.”

“Important operation”

Brazilian federal police said they arrested an unnamed man in April after being denied entry to the Netherlands for using fake ID.

Police said in a statement, “We used a sophisticated tampering plan to infer the forged identity of a Brazilian whose parents had already died,” he added, adding that he was detained until trial.

Russians entered Brazil in 2010, lived in Ireland and the United States, and then returned to Brazil in preparation for immigration to the Netherlands.

“As a junior analyst in the Preliminary Examination Division, he was scheduled to begin a six-month trial period at the International Criminal Court,” they said.

The ICC thanked the Dutch for exposing the spy.

“The International Criminal Court is very grateful to the Netherlands for being briefed by the Dutch authorities and exposing this important operation, more generally a security threat,” spokeswoman Sonia Robra said. Said in a statement to AFP.

There was no immediate reaction from Russia.

The Dutch have a history of exposing Russian intelligence on their lands.

In 2018, the Netherlands expelled four Russian GRU spies accused of attempting to hack the world’s chemical weapons Watchdog while investigating an attack in Syria. Russian spy tries to break into war crimes court, Dutch

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