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Swiss police unmask Russian spy

A Russian embassy official was caught during illegal intelligence gathering operations and left the country after Switzerland launched a formal protest with the Russian Embassy, Swiss police said on Wednesday.

This content was published on December 29, 1999 - 15:46

A Russian embassy official was caught during illegal intelligence gathering operations and left the country after Switzerland launched a formal protest with the Russian Embassy, Swiss police said on Wednesday.

The Federal Police Office said the embassy official was caught red-handed by federal and cantonal police during an illegal intelligence gathering operation.

Switzerland immediately lodged a formal protest with the Russian Embassy in the capital Berne and demanded that the diplomat be recalled by Moscow, the office said.

The Russian has already left Switzerland and has been banned from re-entering the country. However, he cannot be prosecuted because of his diplomatic immunity, police said in a statement.

In a similar but unrelated case, an agent of Israel’s Mossad secret service is to stand trial in Switzerland in the first half of next year.

The agent, Issac Bental, is to be charged with illegal activities on behalf of a foreign power, political spying, wire tapping and the use of a faked passport.

He was arrested in February 1998, along with four other Israelis, close to an apartment building in Köniz on the outskirts of Berne.

Four of those arrested were immediately released.

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