A 62 year old Norwegian man from Kirkenes, accused of spying within Russia, will have his appeal heard today, March 13th, in Moscow court.
Frode Berg has been held in Moscow since December 5th, 2017, and charged with suspected espionage on behalf of Norway. When placed under arrest by the Russian Security Police (FSB) in Moscow, he had € 3000 in his possession.
€ 3000 ‘Favor’
Berg’s lawyers state that Berg is accused of attempting to mail cash and spy instructions addressed to woman in Moscow named Natalia and that Berg is certain to be convicted of acts of espionage.
The tale starts with Berg being introduced by an Oslo acquaintance to another Norwegian who asked him to take € 3k in cash to Moscow and mail it to someone named ‘Natalia.’
Last Dec. 5th, Berg was just steps from the Moscow post office with the envelopes of Euros to be mailed when he was stopped and put under arrest by Russian FSB agents.
BEST CHANCE AT FREEDOM
Berg’s lawyer Ilya Novikov states: ‘When Russia’s relationship with a country become difficult, FSB reacts by initiating espionage arrests against that country.’ Novikov said that although his client maintains his innocence, Berg’s best chance at freedom is to be traded for Russian spies in custody in the West.
A Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokesman states that diplomats are working to safeguard Berg’s interests but Norwegian confidentiality rules prevented further discussion of Berg’s case.
Berg denies knowing that the ‘Natalia’ envelope had spy instructions, but the FSB sees Berg as a courier without access to state secrets.
The Russian state news agency broadcast a story saying Berg had gathered secrets concerning Russia’s Northern Fleet.
Lars Rowe, a Russian specialist at the Fridtjof Nansen Institue of Oslo states; ‘The Berg case marks the first time since the Russian Revolution of 1917 that a Norwegian has been arrested for espionage in Russia.’
Said Kirkenes Mayor Rafaelsen: ‘I guarantee Frode Berg is not a spy.’
Frode Berg’s Moscow appeal will begin today at 11 am (9 am Oslo time).
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today