‘Russian Spy’ Arrested in Colombia, Charged With Sports Betting Crimes

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Posted on: April 13, 2022, 01:24h. 

Last up to date on: April 13, 2022, 01:28h.

A Russian nationwide arrested in Colombia and accused of spying for the Kremlin has been charged with offenses linked to unlawful athletics betting.

Sergei Vagin
Sergei Vagin, earlier mentioned, flanked by CTI brokers. As a result of his lawyer, he denies staying a Russian spy. The Russian embassy in Bogotá referred to as the allegation “fake information.” (Graphic: Colprensa)

Colombian authorities allege Sergei Vagin, 36, laundered $146 million from Russian sports bettors by means of lender accounts opened in Colombia with own details “rented” from locals.

They claim he used some of this cash to ferment “political unrest” and fund anti-governing administration riots in the Latin American region.

Vagin’s law firm says he’s not a Russian spy, just an “innocent criminal” attempting to operate a typical illegal sports activities betting ring.

Codename: ‘Servac’

The suspect was arrested by military services police in the Bogotá suburb of Suba on March 30, alongside with six other folks. Among the them was Mauricio Garcia, a previous agent of the CTI, Colombia’s equivalent of the FBI.

In accordance to local studies, wire intercepts permitted Colombian counter-intelligence investigators to determine Vagin and a much larger community of Russian operatives, with the assistance of US indicators intelligence,.

Authorities assert Vagin is Russian agent, codenamed “Servac,” who filmed some of the riots he is accused of funding, in advance of reporting back again to a handler in Moscow named “Dimas.”

Colombia was engulfed by demonstrations and rioting previous year, mostly a protest against corruption, increased taxes, and health care reforms proposed by President Ivan Duque Marquez.

It is not right away clear what interest the Kremlin would have in destabilizing the Marquez administration, and the Russian Embassy in Bogotá denied the allegation in a assertion earlier this month.

Outrageous, Incoherent

“Mr Vagin is a straightforward analyst who gives his solutions to a company of sports activities betting. He has no url at all to the authorities of Russia or this embassy,” an embassy spokesperson said, as translated by Finance Colombia.

“Imagine how considerably dollars Colombian contributors would be able to help you save if they experienced cleared the suspicions of this Russian citizen throughout the mechanisms of interstate law enforcement motion,” they ongoing.

We are attentive to the detention of the Russian citizen Sergei Vagin on March 30 of 2022 by the Colombian forces of public buy,” the Russian Embassy added. “We hope that the qualified organs provide impartiality and adherence to the law with regards to this citizen of the Russian Federation.”

The embassy claimed stories of espionage had been “crazy and incoherent … a common case in point of pretend news,” and element of the “Western information mainstream characterized by a superior diploma of Russophobia and a blind fury in the direction of almost everything joined to Russia.”

In December 2020, Colombia expelled two alleged Russian spies, Alexander Paristov and Alexander Nikolayevich Belousov. That was for recruiting brokers and gathering data on Colombian all-natural methods, armed forces abilities, and the power grid, in accordance to authorities.