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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Suspected Russian Spy Arrested in Montreal

OTTAWA -- Canada said Thursday that it had arrested a foreign man whom it branded a threat to national security, and local media identified him as a Russian spy.

The man was detained at a Montreal airport on Tuesday after two federal Cabinet ministers signed a national security certificate deeming him to be a danger. Ottawa rarely issues such certificates, which are used to deal with major threats.

"The government's most important duty is to ensure the security of all Canadians. A security certificate has been issued ... against a foreign national. He is now in custody in Montreal," said Melissa Leclerc, a spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day.

The National Post newspaper quoted the certificate as saying the man -- living in Canada under a false name -- had been "engaging in an act of espionage" and was a member of an organization devoted to spying.

The Post quoted officials as saying the case had all the hallmarks of an operation by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service said the man had been using the false name Paul William Hampel.

The case now passes to Canada's federal court, which has one week to review the evidence the government used as justification for issuing the security certificate.

In 1996, Canada expelled two Russians who it said were spies.