Industrial Spying Charges Deepen Russia-UK Flap

Two with ties to Britain arrested for espionage in Moscow
By Michael Quinn,  Newser User
Posted Mar 20, 2008 4:43 PM CDT
An investigator leaves the headquarters of Russian-British joint venture OAO TNK-BP, Russia's third-largest oil producer, in downtown Moscow, Wednesday, March 19, 2008.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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(Newser) – Two brothers, one with ties to a UK-Russia joint oil venture, have been arrested in Moscow and accused of industrial espionage, the BBC reports. Ilya and Alexander Zaslavsky were charged after yesterday's raid on oil giant TNK-BP, but analysts say Russia's interest in the matter goes beyond spying, as the country angles to re-assert control over its oil industry.

The raid echoes a similar 2003 event, Reuters adds, which eventually led to the destruction of the Yukos oil company. TNK-BP is Russia’s third-largest oil company—and the only one not under the Kremlin's thumb. The arrests have further soured relations between Britain and Russia, under strain since the 2006 murder of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London.