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Italy sentences ex-navy officer to 20 years over spying for Russia

by Martin Fornusek January 19, 2024 11:13 PM 1 min read
The Russian embassy in Rome, Italy, 2021. (Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images)
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A court in Rome sentenced on Jan. 19 a former Italian navy officer to 20 years in prison for spying for Russia, the ANSA news agency reported.

Frigate captain Walter Biot was found guilty of espionage and bribery after being allegedly caught handing over secret data to a Russian embassy official in March 2021.

According to the charges, Biot wanted to sell a flash drive with secret data for 5,000 euros ($5,447) to Russian naval attache Dmitry Ostroukhov. The Italian officer was detained during the attempted handover.

The memory card reportedly contained 181 photographs of documents and images from Biot's computer, including 47 marked as "NATO secret" and 57 as "NATO confidential."

This is already the second sentence handed to Biot, as a military tribunal sentenced him to 30 years in prison in March 2023.

Italy expelled two Russian diplomats in 2021 in retaliation for the scandal.

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