An American businessman has been expelled from Russia for alleged espionage activities, the country’s security agency said Sunday.
The regional department of the Federal Security Service identified the businessman as Richard Dann Oppfelt, president of Seattle Medical Export Inc., the Interfax news agency said.
Sergei Gorlenko, a spokesman for the FSB, Russia’s counterintelligence and domestic security agency, confirmed that a Seattle businessman had been expelled from the Kamchatka peninsula in the Far East on Friday, but he did not identify him by name.
The man had been detained at the end of April by military counterintelligence officers and the FSB in the city of PetropavlovskKamchatsky, Gorlenko said.
“He was engaged in actions that damage the interests of state security, or espionage, as we call it in Russian,” he said.
It was the first reported expulsion of an American from Russia for alleged espionage since February 1994, when Russia expelled U.S. Embassy counselor James L. Morris in response to Washington’s expulsion of a Russian intelligence officer. The expulsion of the Russian came after the arrest of the CIA’s Russian mole, Aldrich Ames and his wife, Rosario.
Since last Monday, the FSB the main successor to the Soviet KGB has unveiled several cases touching on espionage and alleged sales of radioactive material to the Irish Republican Army.
The most sensational was Monday’s announcement that a Russian government employee had been arrested for giving secret information on the IRA to British agents.
Russia threatened to expel nine British diplomats, and Britain said it would retaliate. But by Sunday, there had been no word of expulsions.