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Monday, July 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Alleged Russian Spy Pleads ‘Nyet’ Guilty

MANHATTAN (CN) - With his Russian client pleading not guilty to economic espionage at a brief arraignment Wednesday, defense counsel prepared for extensive discovery.

Evgeny Buryakov, 39, was the only man arrested last month among three indicted for allegedly spying on U.S. economic intelligence about potential sanctions against Russian banks and plans for alternative energy resources.

His alleged comrades, Igor Sporyshev, 40, and Victor Podohbnyy, 27, no longer live in the United States and remain at large.

All three men worked for Russia's foreign intelligence service, the SVR, short for Sluzhba vneshney razvedki, prosecutors say.

Meeting at least 48 times from 2012 to 2014, they used "clandestine methods and coded messages ... while shielding their associations with one another as SVR agents," according to a statement from federal prosecutors.

The FBI says it caught Buryakov when an undercover agent posed as the representative of a wealthy investor seeking casino development deals in Russia.

Buryakov's lawyer Benjamin Naftalis, of the prominent New York law firm Latham & Watkins, declined to comment on his client's case to reporters, and he also revealed little in court, except to reveal that the case may keep translators busy.

"The bulk of the discovery in this case is in Russian," Naftalis said.

With a status conference tentatively scheduled for March 26, Naftalis told the court that his wife may be giving birth around that time, and he may require a postponement.

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