A Russian man accused of giving the CIA information on Russia’s nuclear submarine program was arrested, news agencies said Wednesday.
The man was arrested a year ago in St. Petersburg, the news agencies said. It was not clear why the incident was being disclosed now. Both the ITAR-Tass and Interfax news agencies cited an anonymous source at the Federal Security Service, the KGB’s main successor.
ITAR-Tass identified the man only as Finkel, and Interfax reported the name as Finkin. Both said he has been in prison since his arrest.
They said he had been recruited by a CIA agent working under the cover of the U.S. consular service in Moscow. ITAR-Tass identified that man as John Satter.
Richard Hoagland, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, refused to comment. In Washington, CIA spokesman Dave Christian said only: “We’re looking into the story.”
ITAR-Tass, echoing Cold War language, said Finkin or Finkel was promised political asylum in the United States, “which implies a U.S. visa, a residence permit and a generous allowance.” It said he worked at a research institute in St. Petersburg.
Also Wednesday, the Federal Security Service accused a Swedish businessman of filming strategic facilities and barred him from re-entering Russia.
It was the second time in a month the Federal Security Service had accused a Swede of spying on Russia. A high-ranking Swedish diplomat was expelled in early September after his alleged courier was caught buying film of classified documents.