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Police source says Italy's security agencies told not to disclose data on spy arrests

May 26, 10:20 UTC+3 ROME
Italian mass media said earlier a former senior Portuguese security official and an alleged unnamed Russian agent were arrested in Rome on May 21 at a request from Portugal.
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ROME, May 26. /TASS/. Italy's security agencies have received an instruction to stay away from disclosing the data on the arrest of two foreign intelligence agents in Rome, one of them allegedly a Russian national, the chief press officer of the Rome police, Lucia Muscari told TASS.

"We received an instruction to withhold information and we don't have the right to give any comments to reporters," she said. "The investigators who are doing the investigation in Portugal have been empowered to answer all the questions. Italy has only given technical assistance to them."

"It was said one of the arrested persons is a Russian citizen but we can't give any official confirmation," Muscari said.

Italian mass media said earlier a former senior Portuguese security official and an alleged unnamed Russian agent were arrested in Rome on May 21 at a request from Portugal.

The Portuguese, Frederico Carvalhao Gil, who used to be a division chief in the country's Security Intelligence Service, has been the subject of an investigation for two years. He is charged with espionage and illegal transfer of confidential information to third parties.

Western media described the case as the one very sensitive for the entire NATO, as Carvalhao Gil had access to "a wide array of NATO secrets."

Reports said the two men had been arrested in a bar in Trastevere, a district of Rome. Carvalhao Gil allegedly had secret documents regarding NATO and the EU on him and the supposed Russian had a big sum of money in cash.

Italian judiciary agencies are now expected to consider the extradition of the two men to Portugal. However, officials at the fourth section of the court of appeals in Rome where extradition issues are typically considered refused to give any information from TASS.

The Russian embassy in Rome did not offer any commentaries on the situation either.

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