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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

FSB Levels Spy Charge at Briton

The Federal Security Service accused one-time British diplomat Pablo Miller on Wednesday of recruiting former tax inspector Vyacheslav Zharko on behalf of British intelligence.

Zharko, who turned himself over to the FSB in June, has said he was introduced to British intelligence officers by former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko and later handed over information about the Russian economy.

The FSB said Miller also had been implicated in the espionage cases of retired intelligence agency Colonel Sergei Skripal and former FSB officer Valery Oyamyae. Skripal was convicted of spying for Britain last year and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Oyamyae was convicted of spying for British and Estonian special services in 2001.

At the time of Oyamyae's conviction, the FSB said Miller was an agent working as the first secretary of the British Embassy and accused him of working alongside the Estonian Interior Ministry's security police department.

The FSB said Miller also went by the name Antonio Alvares de Hidalgo.

The FSB allegations were made in a report carried by Interfax. An FSB spokesman confirmed the report but declined further comment.

The British Foreign Office refused to comment on Miller's association with Zharko or his current status within the British diplomatic corp.

The first public mention of a connection between Zharko and Miller appears to be an Aug. 9 posting on web forum The author of the post says he learned that Zharko had identified Antonio Alvares de Hidalgo as his "tutor" from MI6 some time ago, and questions whether the re-employment of an exposed MI6 agent stemmed from the agency's need to "retrench" or whether "the department officers of MI6 are so goofy they make such blunders."

The FSB spokesman refused to comment on when Zharko first identified Miller as his recruiter. He expressed surprise when told of the Internet posting and asked for the web site's address.