Switzerland opens criminal case against Russian spies

The Swiss Federal Attorney's Office is conducting an investigation into the criminal case of two Russian citizens suspected of involvement in the cyber attack at the European headquarters of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Lausanne.

On Monday, September 17, in Bern, the prosecutor's office representatives said that the case on espionage for political purposes was initiated as early as March 2017, reports Deutsche Welle.

The office also accuses Russians of trying to obtain data from the laboratory of radiological and chemical-bacteriological analysis in the Swiss city of Spiez. Among other things, the laboratory helps to investigate chemical attacks in Syria and poisoning of Sergey and Julia Skripal in the British Salisbury. The Swiss Federal Intelligence Service previously confirmed the cyber attacks did happen, noting that criminals did not achieve their goals.

After the arrests in spring 2018 in The Hague, the government deported Russian spies to the Russian Federation. The detention of these secret agents was the result of a joint operation between the special services of the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. However, it remains unclear why Russians were released and not brought to trial in the Netherlands.

On Friday, September 14, the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger and the Dutch NRC Handelsblad, referring to their sources, wrote that in spring, the government detained two Russian citizens on suspicion of espionage in The Hague. According to European media, the Russians were interested in the Swiss laboratory, which studied materials on the Skripal poisoning case.

On Sunday, the Swiss newspaper Sonntags-Zeitung wrote that according to one of the local security agencies, approximately every fourth Russian diplomat in Switzerland is an active or former employee of the Russian special services. The Russian embassy in Switzerland called this estimate unjustified.

At the same time, the Swiss authorities demanded that Russia stop illegal intelligence operations in their country.

  Russia, Switzerland, World Anti-Doping Agency, Netherlands