MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. Ivan Safronov, advisor to the head of Roscosmos and a former reporter, is accused of handing over secret data to Western special services, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters on the outcomes of his annual news conference on Thursday.
"Parts of his activity considered unlawful by the investigation are not tied with his work as a journalist at Kommersant. They are related to a rather long period of his life, namely during the period he worked as an aide of [Roscosmos head Dmitry] Rogozin. [He is accused of] handing over secret information to representatives of special services of Western states," Putin said.
The Russian leader said that the investigation needs time to make sense of the situation and to hand the case over to the court. The president assured that no one wishes to persecute Safronov. "Do you think that he has some enemies at the FSB or the Investigative Committee? He doesn’t have any personal enemies there," Putin said.
Earlier, the president told an annual news conference that Safronov’s case is unrelated to his professional activity as a reporter. "It is related to a rather long period of his work as an aide to Rogozin’s advisor, while he was working in the government, and while he was working at Roscosmos," the Russian leader stated.
On July 7, Ivan Safronov, a former reporter at the Kommersant and Vedomosti newspapers, was detained and charged with high treason. He pled not guilty. The federal security service FSB says he was recruited in 2012. In 2017, he collected and passed to his handlers information about Russia’s military-technical cooperation with African countries and the activity of the Russian Armed Forces in the Middle East. According to the investigation, Safronov worked for the Czech Republic’s External Relations and Information Directorate. The United States was the end recipient of the classified information. An FSB investigator earlier underlined that his arrest is not tied to his professional duties.