Moldovan Intelligence Says it Has Cracked Russian Spy Network
Intelligence agency says it has uncovered a spy network run by two Russian citizens tasked with spreading disinformation on social networks against the country’s pro-Western leadership.
Moldovan special services head Alexandru Musteata (L), speaks at SIS headquarters in the presence of President Maia Sandu (R), on September 9, 2022. Photo: SIS Facebook page
The director of the Moldovan Intelligence and Security Service, SIS, Alexandru Musteata, said on Monday that his institution he leads and the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organised Crime and Special Cases, PCCOCS, had dismantled an FSB spy network in the country.
The two bodies sent the court a criminal case for treason and espionage against a group of people led by two FSB officers who recruited Moldovan citizens for socio-political intelligence gathering, disinformation campaigns and denigration of the pro-European leaders of the country.
“The activity of the Russian citizens and the agency network was aimed at influencing the social-political processes of Moldova in the interest of the Russian Federation. At the same time, to maintain dependence on Russia, the two carried out informational operations to shape public opinion,” Musteata told a press briefing.
Starting in 2020, the two Russians, named as Iurii G. and Vadim I., organised hostile activities against Moldova and its citizens, especially about legislative intentions and plans, seeking compromising information about political leaders and actors from Chisinau and managing shady informational projects, especially on Telegram channels.
“One of the agents recruited by Iurii G. and Vadim I. had the task of identifying and securing such financial channels, of providing logistical support to projects ordered and financed by the FSB, but also of recruiting other citizens of Moldova,” the head of the SIS said.
One person recruited by the two Russians is a Moldovan citizen now in custody and accused of treason, and potentially facing a prison sentence of 12 to 20 years.
Musteata also stated that illegal transfer of funds were made through cryptocurrency and the Hawala system, with the involvement of currency exchange houses from Moldova.
He added that in 2021 alone, about 500,000 US dollars were transferred from Russia to Moldova through these financial channels, which were used for the purposes described.
The SIS head appealed to the people who foreign secret services, especially Russian ones, contact – and report these facts to the authorities.