Thursday, July 01, 2010

Russian Spy Case Updates; Chapman's Dad A Russian Diplomat; Expect Denial of Bail; Admission By Juan Lazaro

A group of alleged Russian spies are to appear in court today to request bail. Don't expect the judge to authorize bail, not when one of the suspects, who was caught in Cyprus and released on bail, escaped without a trace.
Christopher Robert Metsos, 54, was nabbed Tuesday by Cypriot police as he prepared to board a flight to Budapest with a Canadian passport, which was seized.

For some reason, he was granted $25,000 bail and promptly vanished. He was last seen Tuesday night at the hotel where he had paid up front for two weeks.

Metsos' lawyers said they couldn't find him and Cypriot police said he didn't check in as required Wednesday night.

Cyprus, a Mediterranean island close to Europe, Asia and Africa, is famously infested with spies, arms dealers and other shady characters.

Escape is easy: Frequent ferries run from the Turkish northern part of the divided island to Turkey, Syria or Lebanon.
It's called a flight risk, and these people are a flight risk. Therefore, bail is not sufficient.

It also turns out that Anna Chapman's father was a Russian diplomat.
The father of the alleged Russian spy Anna Chapman works as a senior diplomat in Russia's ministry of foreign affairs, Russian media reported today, a revelation that is likely to further strain ties between Moscow and Washington.

Friends said that Chapman's father, Vasily Kushchenko, worked in Russia's embassy in Kenya from the late 1990s, and may even have been the ambassador there. It is more likely, however, that he occupied a more junior post, and then possibly served a further stint abroad before returning to Moscow.

According to Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, Kushchenko continues to work at Russia's foreign ministry, known by its Russian initials as MID. Today a foreign ministry spokesman refused to confirm or deny the report. "We can't answer this. There may be official commentary later," the spokesman said.

Neighbors are still stunned over the revelations:

No word on whether bail has been set in the case, but here's a copy of the complaint:

Sealed Complaint: U.S. Investigates Alleged Russian Spy Ring

"Juan Lazaro" one of the people arrested, and who happened to be married to another person implicated in the plot, Vicky Pelaez (who worked for Spanish language daily El Diario in New York City), has admitted to be working for the Russian Intel Service.
"Juan Lazaro", one of the suspects in an alleged Russian spy ring, has admitted that he worked for Russia's intelligence service, according to a bail letter provided by the United States Attorney's office in the Southern District of New York.

The document states Lazaro made a "lengthy post-arrest statement on June 27th," after he waived his Miranda rights, in which he allegedly told federal agents that he was not born in Uruguay, that "Juan Lazaro" is not his real name, that his house in Yonkers had been "paid for by the 'Service' and although he loved his son, he would not violate his loyalty to the 'Service' even for his son."

The document also says "Lazaro," who is married to co-defendant Vicky Pelaez, told agents she delivered letters to the "Service" on his behalf, and that he refused to provide his real name to prosecutors.
Pelaez is the only one to receive bail today. She is out on $250,000 bail and confined to house arrest. Her husband's bail hearing was postponed. Richard and Cynthia Murphy of Montclair were denied bail.

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