'Russian Spy' Arrested - Gets Bail
On Monday, the FBI arrested 10 people they say are deep undercover Russian spies who lived ordinary lives and gathered information for Russian secret services. Christopher Metsos, the 54-year-old Canadian citizen caught in Cyprus, is wanted for money laundering and espionage in connection with the same case, said police spokesman Michalis Katsounodos, citing Interpol.
The extradition process has been started and the suspect is expected to be sent back to the US to stand trial. To the surprise of many, he was released on bail of 20,000 euros and the extradition hearing is set for July 29th.
Although Metsos has surrendered his passport and must report to a police station on a daily basis, it is highly unusual for the courts to grant bail to foreign fugitives. According to US authorities, Metsos is the spymaster who controlled the other agents, and there are now fears that he may try to escape through the porous border in the north of Cyprus and disappear from there. The other suspects in the USA used false identities - including Irish and British passports - as a matter of course, say US authorities.
"If he doesn't show up to for his police appointment today an arrest warrant will be issued against him," said a police spokesman.
The photo above is of Anna Chapman, one of the suspected spies who was arrested in the US. The other suspects arrested in the US include 'Richard Murphy' and ' Cynthia Murphy', of Montclair, New Jersey, and Vicky Pelaez and a man known as 'Juan Lazaro', of Yonkers, New York state. Mikhail Semenko and a couple known as 'Michael Zottoli' and 'Patricia Mills' were arrested in Arlington, Virginia. 'Donald Howard Heathfield' and 'Tracey Lee Ann Foley' were arrested in Boston, Massachusetts.
Foley, Heathfield, and the other nine suspects allegedly used invisible ink, short-wave radios, steganography and wi-fi in cafés to pass coded messages back to Russia - including information on nuclear weapons.
In its initial response to the arrests, the Russian government said that the arrests were 'baseless and improper.' They have since admitted that some of the suspects were Russian citizens and diplomatic ties are likely to be strained in the near future, say analysts.