By Lucky Uwakina (AGENDAWATCHDOG) – An Italian navy officer was arrested in his Roman apartment late Tuesday night in the company of a Russian military officer as the two exchanged a dossier of state secrets including classified NATO documents for cash, according to the Italian secret service.
The Italian, who was the captain of a navy frigate, was taken into custody on charges of espionage and endangering state security. The Russian, who has diplomatic status, was released to the Russian embassy in Rome. Neither men have yet been named.
On Tuesday, Italy’s foreign ministry summoned Russian ambassador Sergey Razov to get to the bottom of the matter. The Russian agent is expected to be expelled from the country immediately. The Russian embassy in Rome confirmed the events and released a short statement, saying it was “verifying events” and hoped the inconvenient series of events would not compromise relations between the two nations. “For now, we consider it inappropriate to comment on what happened,” the statement said. “In any event, we hope that what happened is not reflected on the bilateral relationship between Russia and Italy.”
The two men had been under surveillance for more than two months in an investigation led by Italian secret service chief Mario Parente. The men were arrested as they passed the dossier for a wad of cash reported to be around €5,000, according to local media based on unnamed sources.