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Russian embassy: US intel may have framed game developer in F-16 manual purchase on eBay

May 15, 13:04 UTC+3 NEW YORK

The Russian had been detained in Georgia back in July 2018

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Russian embassy in Washington

Russian embassy in Washington

© AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

NEW YORK, May 15. /TASS/. There are signs that American intelligence could have set up Russian national Oleg Tishchenko, extradited to the US from Georgia, the Russian embassy in Washington said in a statement.

"The Russian embassy in the US is keeping a close eye on the situation surrounding the arrest of Russian national Oleg Tishchenko, extradited from Georgia. Five charges have been brought against him, including smuggling, violating the Arms Export Control Act and conspiracy against the interests of the United States," the statement reads.

"There are signs of a provocation staged by US intelligence agencies in the case. According to available information, the Russian being held in a jail in Weber County, Utah," the diplomatic mission added. "We are seeking consular access to our fellow citizen. We will provide Oleg Tishchenko with all necessary consular assistance to protect his legitimate rights," the embassy’s statement vowed.

A game developer and an eBay purchase

According to earlier reports, Georgia extradited Russian national Oleg Tishchenko, charged with smuggling fighter jet manuals, to the United States. The Russian had been detained in Georgia back in July 2018.

According to the US, on June 22, 2011, Tishchenko posted a message on an online forum for fans of digital combat simulators, saying he planned to purchase F-16 jet manuals on eBay but needed help in shipping them to Moscow since there were some shipping restrictions for international buyers. The next day, a user nicknamed Moby agreed to ship the manuals to his US address and then send them to Russia. The US Department of Homeland Security says Moby is an American named Kenneth Sullivan.

According to the indictment, in October 2011, Sullivan said in a message on the forum that he had sent the manuals to Tishchenko. The Department of Homeland Security claims that neither the Russian nor the American tried to abide by US laws and get permission for shipping the fighter jet manuals.

A court hearing on the case is scheduled to take place on August 19. If found guilty, Tishchenko faces up to ten years behind bars. The Russian has pleaded not guilty.

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