Intelligence

Spanish double-spy for Russia to face closed trial

RIA Novosti

23/01/201000:37

MOSCOW, January 23 (RIA Novosti) - A Madrid court has agreed to hold a behind-closed-doors trial of a former Spanish intelligence officer accused of selling classified information to Russia, a Spanish newspaper said.

Roberto Flores Garcia, 44, was arrested in 2007 on suspicion of selling secrets to Russia for at least $200,000 from 2001 to 2004. He resigned from his position at the Spanish spy agency CNI in January 2004.

A request for a closed trial has been submitted by Spanish prosecutors because the case contains documents with highly-classified materials, the El Pais newspaper said on Friday.

The alleged double agent, who is still kept in a pre-trial detention center, could be sentenced to as many as 12 years in prison if convicted of treason.

During the investigation, Garcia admitted that he felt "sympathy" for the Russian people and admired "the professionalism" of the Russian secret service in its efforts "to safeguard peace and global security."

Garcia also wrote in a letter to his alleged Russian handler Pyotr Melnikov, who worked at the time under the cover of a consultant at the Russian embassy in Madrid, about his leftist political ideology, and his rejection of U.S. foreign policy.

Alberto Saiz, director of the CNI, said after Garcia's arrest that Spain's national security was never threatened, nor was there a threat to security at NATO and the European Union.

However, the mole allegedly revealed the names of dozens of Spanish spies, possibly including double agents inside Russia who had been working for the Spanish secret service and the seven Spanish spies killed in an ambush south of Baghdad in November 2003.

Some experts believe that another reason for a closed trial could be the desire of the Spanish government to bury the story and avoid any deterioration in their relations with Moscow, which has always denied its involvement.



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