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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Admiral: Alleged Far East Spy Got Cash From Foreign Firms




A Russian navy officer charged with treason received regular payments from foreign companies and was carrying documents containing state secrets when he was arrested, a military security official said Tuesday.


Captain Grigory Pasko, editor of the Pacific Fleet newspaper Boyevaya Vakhta, or Combat Vigil, was arrested in the Far East port of Vladivostok in November on suspicion of spying for Japan.


Four of eight documents seized from Pasko when he was arrested held state secrets, Rear Admiral German Ugryumov, the chief of security in the Pacific Fleet, said in remarks at a news conference reported by Interfax.


According to news reports when he was arrested, the documents contained information on Russia's defense capabilities.


Pasko's lawyers have argued that the arrest was motivated by his exposure of environmental damage caused by the fleet. In 1993, Pasko reportedly filmed a Russian tanker dumping nuclear waste at sea for the Japanese NHK television company.


The Vladivostok military court turned down a motion by Pasko's lawyers to free the defendant Monday, Interfax reported.


Pasko's backers have likened his case to that of Alexander Nikitin, a former Russian submarine captain charged with treason for helping compile and publicize a report about the Northern Fleet's mishandling of nuclear materials. Nikitin spent 10 months in prison in 1996 but was released as international condemnation mounted. He has yet to face trial.


Ugryumov said an investigation had revealed that Pasko had received monthly payments and money for travel from foreign companies, according to Interfax.


The report did not identify any of the companies allegedly involved, but previous reports suggested they were from Japan.


More than 100 witnesses were questioned, Ugryumov said.