The FBI today arrested an alleged Russian spy in the Bronx, saying he posed as a Manhattan banker while collecting information for Russia's SVR or foreign intelligence service, ABC News reports. A criminal complaint identifies him as Evgeny Buryakov and names his cohorts as Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podobnyy. But the latter two—a former trade representative and a United Nations attaché for Russia, respectively—are protected by diplomatic immunity and no longer live in the US, Business Insider reports. The FBI accuses them of gathering data on possible US alternative energy plans and sanctions against Russia, among other things. They also allegedly tried recruiting employees at "major companies" and "young women" tied to a "major" New York university, the complaint says.
The trio had "over four dozen meetings"—usually outdoors to avoid surveillance—where they communicated via "clandestine methods and coded messages," according to the complaint. In a phone conversation, Buryakov allegedly said he needed help "formulating questions" for people posing as professionals "with a leading Russian state-owned news organization." He also urged Sporyshev to have the faux reporters ask how Exchange Traded Funds (baskets of securities that trade like individual stocks) are used "for destabilization of the markets." Buryakov's bank isn't named, but he's listed by Russia's Vnesheconombank as a deputy representative to the US. Today's charges stem from the arrest of 10 other undercover SVR agents who pleaded guilty to money-laundering conspiracy charges after being arrested in 2010, the Wall Street Journal reports. (Read more spies stories.)