An Italian naval officer, Walter Biot (this is his name, according to what ANSA has learned from investigative sources), was arrested after he was arrested along with an officer of the Russian Armed Forces: both of serious offenses. The charges are related to espionage and state security. The intervention occurred on the occasion of a secret meeting between the two, who were surprised while the Italian officer gave some other ‘classified’ documents in exchange for the money.
The status of the foreign national is still being investigated in relation to his diplomatic status. According to what has been learned, the frigate Captain Biot is on duty in the military policy office of the Defense Staff.
Bayot and the Russian Federation’s embassy-accredited officer were stopped in a parking lot in Rome on Tuesday evening. The intervention was carried out by the Carabanieri del Ros under the direction of the Rome Public Prosecutor’s Office, and information activity was conducted by the Internal Security Information Agency in collaboration with defense staff.
The documents are specifically classified in a military nature. This is what the frigate captain gave to a Russian army officer. The exchange, according to what has been learned, took place in exchange for money in a parking lot in the capital where both were blocked. These are copies of documents that were in the attention of defense staff. Biot photographed classified documents from a computer monitor and downloaded them to a flash drive to take them to the Russian military. This modus operandi is – according to the charge – of the Italian Army. The pen was confiscated yesterday by Roja’s Carabinieri. Documents will concern military telecommunications systems. For classified papers, there would have been access to Bayot, as he was on duty in the defense staff.
Five thousand euros in cash. This is how much the Russian army soldier would have given to the frigate captain in exchange for documents. According to what has been learned, this money was given to him in small boxes. The money was seized at the time of the exchange. It seems that two had agreed to an even lower figure, about four thousand euros, for the transfer of documents that took place in the past. Against the currently detained Italian soldier, the charge is to obtain news related to the security of the state, political and military espionage, dissemination of news whose disclosure is prohibited.
Investigation. Rome’s military prosecutors will formally open an investigation file today on the arrests of Italian and Russian officials. ANSA was confirmed by Rome’s military prosecutor Antonio Sabino. Validation hearing of Walter Biot will be held tomorrow. The investigation, due to a coronovirus emergency, will take place remotely from the Regina Coli prison. The charges against him are state security, political and military espionage, purchase of news espionage news whose revelations have been put on hold.
In relation to what the press had told about the operation carried out by ROS Carabaneri under the direction of Rome’s Public Prosecutor’s Office, Farensina announced that the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Elisabelia Belloni, has summoned the ministry. This morning – on the instructions of Minister Luigi Di Mao – Sergei Razov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Italian Republic.
“We confirm the arrest on 30 March in Rome of an officer from the Office of the Military Attaché. Circumstances of what happened. For now we consider it inappropriate to comment on the content of what happened. In any case, we hope that what has happened will not be reflected in the bilateral relations between Russia and Italy. This was stated in a note by the Russian Embassy in Rome.
“On the occasion of summoning the Russian Ambassador to Italy to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we subsequently sent strong opposition to the Italian government and immediately expelled the two Russian officials involved in this very serious matter. I thank our intelligence and the efforts of all the states that work every day to protect our country. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Mao writes it on FB.
The transfer of classified documentation by an Italian officer to an officer of the Russian Armed Forces stationed in Italy is “a hostile act of extreme gravity” for which “we immediately took the necessary measures”. Minister Di Mio said this during a communication to the Senate. “On my instructions – Di Mao recalled – the Secretary-General Belloni, summoning Ambassador Rajov of the Russian Federation to the ministry this morning, vigorously reported our strong protests and the expulsion of two Russian officials recognized at the embassy in Rome.
Russia and China are “actors who have different political systems and values”, which pose “challenges, and sometimes threats. This is demonstrated by espionage allegations against Italian and Russian officials. Also , He stressed, “We will continue to work in line with our geopolitical position and our values, but also to protect our fundamental interests, for which we must maintain important but constructive dialogue with Russia and China.”
Russia hopes that relations with Italy can be “protected” despite the Rome affair. The RIA expects the Kremlin quoted by Novosti.
“We regret the expulsion of two Russian Embassy employees from Rome. We are investigating the circumstances of this decision. We will further announce our possible steps in relation to this measure, which is not commensurate with the level of bilateral relations ”. The Russian Foreign Ministry informed ANSA.
Moscow will have to sympathetically respond to Rome’s decision to expel two of Italy’s diplomats to Rome: the Duma Commission vice-president reported this to Alexei Sepa for international affairs, which the Interfax Agency reprimanded. “Certainly we will be forced to respond in a similar way. There will be a symmetric response, ”Sefa told Interfax.
The Italian authorities’ decision to expel two Russian officials is unfounded and will negatively affect Italian-Russian relations. This was stated by Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the Duma Commission on International Affairs. “‘Spimania’ has also arrived in Italy. The expulsion of the diplomats is an extreme step. I am sure there were not so strong reasons for this,” Slutsky told Interfax. In his opinion “such a gesture is the high point of bilateral relations.” Does not correspond to the level and will, unfortunately, impose its own negative impression on the Russian-Italian negotiations ”.
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