Cyprus’s police asked the public for help locating a Canadian man who jumped bail to avoid extradition to the U.S. on charges he was part of a Russian espionage ring.
Robert Christopher Metsos, 54, failed to check in at a Cyprus police station yesterday and authorities say they have no conclusive information about his location, police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos said.
U.S. authorities arrested 10 people on June 28 for allegedly spying for the Russian Federation, according to the Justice Department. The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Metsos, a purported Canadian citizen, was an agent of the Russian espionage agency and traveled to the U.S. to pay others in the spy ring.
Metsos was arrested at Larnaca International Airport June 29 and released on bail of 20,000 euros ($24,500) and C$9,000 ($8,500). He was ordered to surrender his travel documents and check in at the police station.
Stephanos Stephanou, a government spokesman, said police had sought to have Metsos detained pending extradition proceedings.
“The decision of the court was different and we had the development that we have now,” Stephanou told reporters. “It is an unfortunate development.”
U.S. Ambassador Frank C. Urbanic left a meeting with Cyprus government officials today in the capital of Nicosia without answering questions from reporters. Stephanou said Metsos’s disappearance shouldn’t affect relations with the U.S. because law enforcement officials had to follow court orders.
The Republic of Cyprus, represented by the Greek Cypriot community in the south, doesn’t consider the demarcation line between the regions as a border and there are almost no checks before crossing into the north. Cyprus is a member of the European Union.
“We have often witnessed suspects fleeing through the Turkish occupied areas,” Katsounotos said in a separate interview on Cyprus’s state radio. “This fact was presented to the court, but the court decided to release him on bail.”
According to the Guardian UK...
The Americans, who were astonished that Metsos was freed on bail in the
first place, will be working on the assumption that he has been whisked out of
the country by the Russian intelligence service.