Russian Spies Suspected in Plot Against Swiss Chemical Lab, Media Reports

Blanche Robertson
September 16, 2018

That led to a joint investigation by Swiss, Dutch and British intelligence services, which concluded that the two Russians, working in The Hague, were spies for the Russian government and were preparing "illegal actions against a Swiss critical infrastructure", according to Isabelle Graber, a spokeswoman for the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service... Bucher said he did not know about the Russians being identified, detained or expelled from the Netherlands.

Swiss authorities said Friday that the Netherlands arrested and expelled two suspected Russian spies who allegedly tried to hack a Swiss laboratory that conducts tests for the United Nations -backed chemical weapons watchdog.

Unnamed sources close to the investigation told the newspapers that the suspects were in possession of equipment that would allow them to hack into the laboratory.

The lab has analysed suspected poison gas deployed in Syria and samples of the Novichok nerve agent that Britain accused Russian Federation of using to try to murder former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Spiez Laboratory serves as a reference laboratory for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Hague-based body that oversees the global ban on the use of chemical weapons.

It is not clear exactly when the arrests were made.

The newspaper said the two suspects were not the same men accused by Britain last week of trying to kill Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain in March.

Swiss intelligence officials Friday confirmed they were aware of the incident.

The two agents - who are not the men accused by Britain of carrying out the nerve agent attack - are said to have targeted Switzerland's Spiez laboratory earlier this year. No data have been stolen from the lab, he adds.

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Alaniz said authorities were planning on filing four murder charges and one charge of aggravated kidnapping against Ortiz. In a statement, Andrew Meehan, assistant commissioner for public affairs for U.S.

Bucher cited a case in June where hackers took documents from the lab's website and "distributed a very malicious malware virus" to affiliated agencies.

The Dutch intelligence agency, MIVD, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In the article, the head of communications at the lab said he could not comment on the FIS information.

On Twitter, Spiez Laboratory publicly refuted Lavrov's claims.

FILE PHOTO: A police officer guards a cordoned off area of Queen Elizabeth Gardens, after it was confirmed that two people had been poisoned with the nerve-agent Novichok, in Salisbury, Britain, July 5, 2018.

Commenting on the latest reports, Lavrov said "I can not believe that such an event involving three European countries escaped the attention of the media", seemingly inferring that it did not happen.

The two suspects for the planned lab attack were returned to Russian Federation without prosecution in the Netherlands or extradition to Switzerland, according to Tages-Anzeiger.

But the two men in the interview, named by British security services as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, "were not the two agents intercepted" by the Netherlands, the papers said.

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