Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

RUSSIAN SPY RING OPERATING IN NEW YORK CITY WAS LED BY BANKER


If the winter snowstorm has captured your attention, you may have missed the FBI announcement regarding the fact that its agents broke up an operational Russian spy ring, working out of Manhattan. The cover of the leader of that group was his position as a banker for a Russian financial institution.

The primary mission of the spy ring was to gather financial intelligence, including information about which Russian companies and entities were slated to be next on the OFAC sanctions list. The ring was attempting to recruit undergraduates at a university in New York to assist them. The ringleader was charged with failure to register as an agent of a foreign state, which can result in a Federal prison term of ten years.

The next time a banker, from a country that you know to be an adversary of your country's foreign policy, asks you some detailed questions that are irrelevant to the business that you are conducting with him, stop and think before divulging non-public financial intelligence. You may be talking to an intelligence agent looking for information he cannot get elsewhere. The old adage from the Second World War may be appropriate; Loose lips sink ships.

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