2 Nov 2021 13:30

Charges of giving secret info to University of Zurich, German BND added to journalist Safronov's indictment - lawyer

MOSCOW. Nov 2 (Interfax) - New charges have been added to the final version of Russian journalist Ivan Safronov's indictment in a high treason case, his lawyer Ivan Pavlov told Interfax.

"In addition to the episode of passing information to a 'representative of the Czech intelligence service', another episode came to light: investigators believe that in December 2015 Safronov gave political researcher Demuri Voronin certain information about the Russian Armed Forces' operations in Syria, and the latter subsequently sent this information to representatives of the University of Zurich in Switzerland and the Federal Intelligence Service [BND] of Germany. The [Russian] Federal Security Service believes that the information that was passed could have been used to analyze the activities of Russian forces in Syria. According to the prosecution, Voronin paid Safronov $248 as a reward for this information," Pavlov said.

Voronin, who is a citizen of both Russia and Germany, was arrested in a high treason case in Moscow in February 2020, the lawyer said.

"Some reports indicate that following his detention he made a confession beneficial to the investigation," he said.

Several dozen Russian political experts and journalists collaborated with Voronin's consulting agenda, the lawyer said.

Safronov was detained on July 7, 2020, after which a court remanded him in custody.

According to his defense lawyers, investigators believe that Safronov was recruited by a representative of the Czech security service in 2012 and shared with it secret information related to Russia's military-technical cooperation with African countries and the Russian Armed Forces' activities in the Middle East in 2017. The end recipient of this secret information was the United States, the investigators said.

Before he took the job with Roscosmos, Safronov was a correspondent for the Kommersant and Vedomosti newspapers, writing about the defense and space industries.

Safronov denies any wrongdoing and believes that his case is related to his journalistic activity.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in turn, has denied any possible connection between the case against Safronov and his work as a journalist.

Political researcher Voronin, who is implicated in the second episode of Safronov's case, was arrested in February 2020. His defense team has not commented on the investigation.

According to open source data, Voronin offered political and economic consulting services to international enterprises and financial companies. His Resost company has its offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Berlin.