Cyprus arrests man in ‘Russian spy ring’

POLICE in Cyprus have arrested a man wanted in connection with an alleged Russian spy ring broken up in the United States.

Canadian Robert Christopher Metsos, 54, was arrested at Larnaca airport as he prepared to board an early-morning flight to Budapest.

Mr Metsos, said to be holding a US passport, was released on $US20,000 ($22,943.67) to await extradition.

Britain and Ireland are also investigating reports that fake British and Irish passports were used by members of the alleged Russian spy ring, officials said.

London and Dublin said they were checking after US officials announced the arrest of ten “deep-cover” suspects accused of infiltrating policymaking and reporting back to Moscow.

“There is a reference to a false Irish passport in an FBI affidavit filed in connection with the Russian spy ring,” an Irish foreign ministry spokesman said.

“We are trying to get official clarification of this report,” he added.

The spokesman for Irish Government said “the firm position of the government in regard to the fraudulent use of Irish passports is a matter of public record”.
In London a Foreign Office spokeswoman, asked about reports that fake British passports were involved, said only: “We’re looking into it.”

Russia has swiftly demanded an explanation of the US charges, which read like the synopsis of a Cold War thriller with encrypted messages, false identities as well as tales of buried money and hidden video cameras.
US authorities announced the arrest of ten “deep-cover” suspects on Monday.

The FBI secretly monitored the mission for more than ten years and authorities had said an 11th suspect remained at large.

He was named as Metsos and said to have been under surveillance in Queens in New York in May 2004 when he received a bag containing money from an official associated with Russia’s UN mission.

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