MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. Reports claiming that the suspected mastermind of a criminal scheme for shipping drugs from Argentina to Russia, Andrei Kovalchuk used to be a member of personnel at the Russian embassy in Germany are totally fictitious and contradict reality, Denis Mikerin, the embassy’s press attache wrote on Facebook.
The Russian Foreign Ministry uploaded Mikerin’s commentary on Telegram.
"I was really surprised when I came across a story published by Rosbalt Internet portal, which claimed on the background the ongoing flow of concoctions that the man suspected of organizing the criminal scheme, Andrei Kovalchuk, had been a member of the staff of the Russian embassy in Germany," he wrote. "Quite naturally, the journalists drew far-fetched conclusions."
Mikerin promised the mission would verify the information in detail.
"We can state with a hundred percent assuredness that, to the best of our knowledge, Kovalchuk never had a position on the staff of our embassy while the information circulated by Rosbalt simply stands at variance with reality," he said.
"We have sent a letter to Rosbalt’s editor-in-chief Nikolai Ulyanov asking him to provide evidence to the facts mentioned in the article or to disavow it as early as possible," Mikerin said. "We await a reaction from our counterparts."
The Foreign Ministry said earlier the Russian and Argentine law enforcement agencies had held a joint operation to plug a channel for delivery of a large consignment of drugs (389 km of coke) to the European market and had detained the suspects, who were Argentine and Russian citizens.
The ministry said the consignment of coke had been found in one of the buildings on the compound of the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires. It belonged to a member of the ambassadorial staff who had rounded up his mission in Argentina by that time.
The FSB public relations center said the Russian and Argentine authorities had detained the suspects (three in Russia and two in Argentina). Russian investigators have placed Andrei Kovalchuk, the presumable mastermind of the scheme, on an international wanted list.
The FSB also said the information available to it indicated that Kovalchuk might be on a hideout in Germany.
In the meantime, Moscow City’s Tverskoi district court has charged the man in absentia with drug trafficking and has authorized his arrest.