Russian man arrested in Norway, accused of spying


A Russian man has been arrested in Norway on suspicion of spying during a seminar at the country’s parliament, Norway’s intelligence agency said on Sunday.

The 51-year-old Russian citizen was arrested on Friday and is suspected of “illegal intelligence activity”, according to the local media, and faces up to three years in prison.

“(The man was) arrested Friday night at Oslo Airport…and placed in detention on Saturday for two weeks,” Trond Hugubakken, communications director at the domestic intelligence agency PST, told AFP.

The suspected agent is accused of spying during an inter-parliamentary seminar, which gathered representatives from 34 countries to discuss digitisation at the Stortinget, the Norwegian parliament, Hugubakken said.

The Russian ambassador in Norway, Teimuraz Ramishvili, criticised the detention on his Facebook page, saying the arrest was based on a “ridiculous pretext”.

The arrest is the latest in a number of spyrows between western countries and Russia.

Earlier this month, Swiss officials accused Russian agents of launching separate cyber attacks on the Spiez laboratory in Bern and the Lausanne office of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The lab, which does analytical work for the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), was investigating the poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in Britain.

WADA, for its part, has been a thorn in Moscow’s side for several years following revelations of a Russian-backed scheme to avoid drug testers.

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