COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A prosecutor with Norway’s internal security agency on Friday gave a Russian name to the man who entered the country as a Brazilian but is suspected of spying on state secrets for Russia.
Thomas Blom of the Norwegian Security Service said the man’s name was Mikhail Mikushin, adding that authorities were ‘not absolutely sure of his identity, but we are quite sure he is not Brazilian “.
The man was arrested in the Arctic city of Tromsoe on Monday, where he worked at the Arctic University of Norway. Norwegian media said he went by the name Jose Assis Giammaria. Norwegian authorities said he was 44, born in Russia in 1978.
Blom told a news conference that the suspect faces a “temporary” espionage charge and that the preliminary charge may change as the investigation into the case has just begun. If found guilty of breaking Norwegian espionage laws, the man faces up to three years in prison. He was first arrested with a view to his expulsion.
“There is an imminent danger of tampering with evidence,” Blom said, explaining why the suspect was held for four weeks.
His lawyer in Oslo, Marijana Lozic, told Norwegian news agency NTB on Friday that the man denies any wrongdoing.
“Our view is that just having access to some of these research environments, which are providers of premises for authorities, for policy formulation, is of significant national importance,” Blom said. about the suspect.
The rector of the university told Norwegian TV channel NRK that to his knowledge, no data was stolen or no information was taken “that could harm our research”. However, “it could undermine the legitimacy of our professional environment,” said Dag Rune Olsen.
The suspect arrived in Norway in 2021 and researched northern regions and hybrid threats, Norwegian media said. Norway’s Arctic border with Russia is 198 kilometers (123 miles) long.
In Canada, where the man also studied, he identified himself as Jose Assis Giammaria, according to the Canadian Press.
The news agency said the University of Calgary reported that the man also attended the Alberta school and graduated in the fall of 2018 with a master’s degree in strategic studies.
The Canadian Press also said a 2015 graduation program from Carleton University in Ottawa shows Giammaria earned a bachelor of arts degree specializing in political science with a concentration in international relations.
The Associated Press