WASHINGTON -- FBI agents on Monday arrested an alleged Russian spy in the Bronx who they said attempted to recruit New York City residents as intelligence sources and gather intelligence on behalf of the Russian Federation.
Evgeny Buryakov, 39, allegedly posed as an employee in the Manhattan office of a Russian bank when he was actually working on behalf of the Russian government, according to the feds.
Two others charged in the case -- Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podobnyy -- no longer live in the U.S. Both were protected by diplomatic immunity when they lived in the U.S. because they were in the country officially on behalf of Russia. But federal prosecutors said they were not allowed to “conspire with, or aid and abet” Buryakov, as he worked as an unregistered agent.
Sporyshev’s cover, according to the feds, was as a trade representative of the Russian Federation in New York, while Podobnyy’s cover was as an attaché to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations.
FBI agents observed more than 48 brief meetings between Buryakov and Sporyshev from March 2012 until mid-September 2014, and many of the meetings took place outdoors in an effort to avoid surveillance, according to the feds.
The documents allege that Sporyshev asked Buryakov to help form a question to be asked by a “leading Russian state-owned news organization” that the feds said was sometimes used by Russian intelligence to “gather intelligence under the cover of the news media.” Buryakov allegedly came up with questions for the news organization to ask about the New York Stock Exchange.
“These charges demonstrate our firm commitment to combating attempts by covert agents to illegally gather intelligence and recruit spies within the United States,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “We will use every tool at our disposal to identify and hold accountable foreign agents operating inside this country -- no matter how deep their cover.”
Read the federal complaint below: