MOSCOW, August 10. /TASS/. Moscow’s Lefortovsky District Court has extended the arrest of Karina Tsurkan, a former board member of the Inter RAO energy company charged with espionage, until November 14, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom.
"The investigation’s request to extend defendant Tsurkan’s arrest until November 14 is hereby upheld," the court’s judge announced after a closed-door hearing.
According to diplomatic sources, Tsurkan earlier renounced her Moldovan citizenship and obtained a Romanian passport. While addressing the court, she claimed to have Russian citizenship.
According to investigators, a Moldovan intelligence agency recruited Tsurkan in August 2004. In late April 2015, she got hold of a digital version "of a document drafted by the Energy Ministry, which concerned Russian energy companies’ international cooperation." On September 29, 2015, Tsurkan passed the document to the Moldovan intelligence agency. However, she pleaded not guilty and claimed she had never been acquainted with any foreign intelligence officers and never seen the document in question.
Tsurkan is charged under Article 276 of Russia’s Criminal Code (espionage). If convicted, she will face a prison term of up to 20 years. According to the Russian Criminal Code, the espionage article is only applied to foreign citizens, while if a Russian national is accused of espionage, he or she is charged with high treason.
Inter RAO’s website says that Karina Tsurkan, born in 1974, is a graduate of Moldova’s Free International University and Spain’s Graduate Institute (IUP) and owns 0.0354% of Inter RAO’s stake. She became head of the company’s trading division in 2012.