A Russian national who tried to infiltrate the International Criminal Court last summer was charged on Friday with espionage in the United States, where he is accused of living under a false identity for two years.
Sergei Vladimirovich Cherkasov, 37, worked as an illegal Russian intelligence agent under the Brazilian alias of Victor Muller Ferreira, federal prosecutors in Washington said in a statement.
According to the indictment, he began operating under that identity in Brazil in 2010 and built a “legend” for himself with a fictitious aunt, a deceased mother and few friends. Five years later, he applied to a Washington-based university under that name. After being accepted, he entered the US in 2018 on a student visa.
He lived under this cover until 2020, pursuing studies in international relations while gathering information about Americans that he passed on to Russian intelligence, the services of prosecutor Matthew Graves said. After leaving the US in May 2020, he continued to use his academic contacts to obtain information about US foreign policy, they added.
In April 2022, he tried to gain admission as an intern to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, which is investigating charges of war crimes in Ukraine, aimed at Russia.
The Dutch secret service unmasked him and denied him entry into the Netherlands. Sent back to Brazil, he was arrested on fraud charges and sentenced in July to 15 years in prison.
According to court documents, Moscow has demanded his extradition, accusing him of drug trafficking in 2011 and 2013.