Dutch Expel 2 Russian Diplomats for Spying – Intelligence Service
The Netherlands is expelling two alleged Russian spies working as diplomats after “rolling up” a spy network targeting hi-tech industries, the Dutch intelligence service said on Thursday.
The two Russians from the civilian SVR intelligence service were both working as accredited diplomats at the Russian embassy in the Hague, the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) said.
One of the Russian intelligence officers “built a substantial network of sources, all of which are or have been active in the Dutch high-tech sector,” the AIVD statement said.
The officer particularly targeted companies dealing with artificial intelligence, semiconductors and nanotechnology, for uses in both civil and military applications, it said.
“Some individuals were paid by the intelligence officer in exchange for information,” the Dutch intelligence service said.
The second officer played a “supporting role”, it said.
“Both intelligence officers have been declared ‘persona non grata’ by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This means that they are no longer allowed to operate as diplomats in the Netherlands and must soon leave our country,” it said.
The announcement comes a day after the Netherlands-based European Medicines Agency was hit by a cyberattack targeting coronavirus vaccine data, but there was no indication the two incidents were linked.
In 2018 the Netherlands expelled four alleged Russian spies after an alleged bid to hack the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, using equipment in the back of a car parked in a neighbouring hotel.
(C)MOSCOW TIMES 2020