MANHATTAN (CN) — The United States has deported convicted Russian spy Evgeny Buryakov, ending his prison sentence early in the wake of revelations about his ties to a former campaign adviser for President Donald Trump.
Buryakov, 42, had been sentenced to 30 months imprisonment in late May 2016, after pleading guilty to charges of economic espionage while working for the Manhattan office of the Russian bank Vnesheconombank.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced it had deported the onetime Bronx resident on Wednesday. Removal is one of the conditions of Buryakov’s early release, ABC News reported.
Preet Bharara had still been U.S. attorney for New York’s Southern District when Buryakov pleaded guilty. One of 46 Obama administration appointees recently purged by the Trump administration, Bharara had remarked at the time that Buryakov’s case “sounds like a plotline for a Cold War era movie.”
“An unregistered intelligence agent, under cover of being a legitimate banker, gathers intelligence on the streets of New York City, trading coded messages with Russian spies who send the clandestinely collected information back to Moscow,” Bharara had said.
In a new wrinkle to the spy drama Monday, BuzzFeed reported that ex-Trump adviser Carter Page is the man whom Buryakov’s accused co-conspirators — Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podohbnyy — discussed trying to recruit.
Though law enforcement recorded the conversation, they had shielded the target’s name in court papers as “Male-1.”
“[Male-1] wrote that he is sorry, he went to Moscow and forgot to check his inbox, but he wants to meet when he gets back,” Podohbnyy told Sporyshev, according to BuzzFeed. “I think he is an idiot and forgot who I am. … He got hooked on Gazprom thinking that if they have a project, he could rise up. I also promised him a lot … This is intelligence method to cheat, how else to work with foreigners? You promise a favor for a favor. You get the documents from him and tell him to go fuck himself.”
BuzzFeed reported that Page confirmed his identity, but denied passing along any sensitive information.
Surprising turns have been regular in the case. As laid out in a civil case Buryakov settled last year, the spy’s former landlords in the Bronx, near the official official mission of the Russian Federation, claimed that their 11-year-old son’s toys disappeared after his 2015 arrest.
They said the Buryakovs had stolen the toys on their way out, leaving a trail of “broken furniture, structural damage, and extraordinary filth.”