Norway expels Russian diplomat on espionage charges

Villa Paradiso on TorshovOslo.Villa Paradiso on Torshov.Photo : Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix
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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to deport the Russian diplomat who met with a Norwegian who is now charged with espionage.

“We have informed the Russian ambassador that an employee at the Russian embassy is unwanted as a diplomat and will be asked to leave Norway. This is because he has performed actions that are not compatible with his role and status as a diplomat,” says Communications Manager Trude Måseide at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has chosen not to disclose the name or identity of the diplomat.

So far there has been no reaction from the Russian side.

Diplomatic immunity
The deportation comes after a Norwegian-Indian man was remanded in custody for four weeks on Monday, charged with revealing state secrets.

The 50-year-old man was arrested on Saturday by the Police Security Service (PST) at a restaurant in Oslo. He was then in a meeting with the Russian diplomat who has now been deported from Norway. PST has described the Russian as an intelligence officer.

The Russian, for his part, has diplomatic immunity, which means that he cannot be prosecuted in Norway, PST informed NTB on Tuesday.

The Russian was therefore not arrested when PST went into action.

“We’ll probably only focus on the Norwegian. Intelligence officers and diplomats have immunity. PST cannot request anything here. It will probably be the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said Senior Adviser Martin Bernsen of PST on Tuesday.

According to PST, the Russian diplomat must have met the now espionage-accused Norwegian several times.

Received money
The Norwegian denies criminal guilt in the case but has, during interrogation, admitted that he has received money to provide information.

The man worked at DNV GL (formerly Det Norske Veritas) and through the job had access to classified material. The prison sentence from the Oslo District Court on Monday states that the 50-year-old has handed over information to the contact in exchange for a “not insignificant amount of cash”.

DNV GL states that the accused mainly worked with advanced material technology. He did not have security clearance and has therefore not worked on defense projects.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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