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Italian court finds evidence against Russian citizen suspected of spying insufficient

July 14, 18:50 UTC+3 ROME
Russian citizen was detained on May 22 in central Rome at the moment when he allegedly purchased classified documents from former employee of the Portuguese intelligence service
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ROME, July 14. /TASS/. Italy’s Court of Appeal dealing with extradition matters has found evidence against Russian national Sergey Pozdnyakov suspected of espionage presented by the Portuguese side for his extradition to Lisbon insufficient, Italian lawyer Mario Murano representing the Russian citizen’s interests told TASS on Thursday.

"The defense first tried to defend his diplomatic immunity, but this did not play any role," Murano said. "The Portuguese side was unable to provide sufficient evidence of the Russian citizen’s guilt to detain him under the European arrest warrant." The lawyer added that the Russian citizen is "completely free."

Pozdnyakov was detained on May 22 in central Rome at the moment when he allegedly purchased classified documents from former employee of the Portuguese intelligence service Frederico Carvalhao Gil who is accused of espionage, disclosure of state secrets and illegal transfer of confidential information in his home country.

"The meeting indeed took place in Rome, and, perhaps, there were some documents, but there are no witnesses of money transfer, no evidence whatsoever," the lawyer said.

He explained that the main investigation is underway in Portugal, but the Italian authorities opened their own inquiry. Murano believes the Russian citizen is unlikely to be rearrested in Italy. "Of course, we cannot rule this out completely, but I think that, if Italian investigators had any motives, they would have already announced the arrest," the lawyer added.

Earlier on Thursday, Italy’s Court of Appeal rejected a request to extradite Pozdnyakov to Portugal.

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