Expelled Israeli spy was after Russian-Arab arms deals, says FSB

Vadim Leiderman

Vadim Leiderman

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The military attaché at the Israeli embassy in Moscow, who was unceremoniously expelled by the Russian government last week, was allegedly gathering intelligence on Russian arms exports to the Arab world. The FSB, Russia’s foremost counterintelligence agency, said Soviet-born Vadim Leiderman, a colonel in the Israeli army, was “caught red-handed” during a sting operation in Moscow, which is said to have occurred on May 12. His arrest led to the first expulsion of an Israeli diplomat from Russia in over two decades. Commenting on the case, a spokesperson from Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Kremlin had intended to conceal Leiderman’s expulsion from the media, as a “gesture of goodwill” to Israel. But its effort to keep the operation secret collapsed after Russia’s RBC TV aired a surveillance video of Leiderman’s arrest by a group of FSB officers, as the seemingly unsuspecting Israeli diplomat was dining with another man at an exclusive Moscow restaurant. The footage included shots of Leiderman’s interrogation, as well as images of the contents of his wallet at the time of his arrest by the FSB. The FSB statement said the agency was “seriously perplexed” about the leak of the video, and that it would investigate its source. The government of Israel has denied any wrongdoing by its diplomat. Speaking anonymously to Russian news agency ITAR-Tass, an Israeli official claimed that Leiderman was targeted by the Kremlin as part of a vicious competition between Russian and Israeli military technology companies for international contracts.

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About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

One Response to Expelled Israeli spy was after Russian-Arab arms deals, says FSB

  1. johnallengay says:

    I kind of doubt that a story like this could get into the Russian media without the state’s tacit approval. This whole “it was an accident that this information leaked” schtick strikes me as a bit contrived.

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