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Russia disputes U.S. spy allegations against banker, diplomats

By JC Finley
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has disputed accusations that three Russian citizens were involved in espionage in New York, as alleged in a complaint unsealed by a federal court in Manhattan on Jan. 26. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/c446175a92b20088840c8077cae08614/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has disputed accusations that three Russian citizens were involved in espionage in New York, as alleged in a complaint unsealed by a federal court in Manhattan on Jan. 26. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

MOSCOW, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The Russian government has disputed allegations that three of its citizens, including two of its diplomats, were involved in espionage in New York.

The FBI announced Monday the disruption of a Russian spy ring in New York and the arrest of its alleged ringleader, Russian bank employee Evgeny Buryakov. He is accused of working under "non-official cover" while engaging in intelligence collection on U.S. soil.

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"No proof of the serious charges brought against the Russian citizen has been presented so far," Russian Foreign Ministry Human Rights Ombudsman Konstantin Dolgov told Rossiya-24 during an interview.

Russia's foreign ministry issued a strongly worded statement, accusing the United States of "once again resorting to their favorite tactics of building up spy hysteria" and warned that such actions "deteriorate our bilateral relations and undermine prospects for interaction between our countries."

According to the complaint, unsealed by a Manhattan federal court on Monday, Buryakov was aided by Igor Sporyshev, a Russian trade representative, and Victor Podobnyy, an attache with the Russian Mission to the United Nations. The three men had been tasked with collecting information on U.S. sanctions against Russia and on U.S. efforts to develop alternative energy resources.

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Sporyshev and Podobnyy were protected by diplomatic immunity and are no longer in the United States.

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