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Italian Navy officer sentenced to 29 years in prison for espionage in favor of Russia

Italian Navy officer sentenced to 29 years in prison for espionage in favor of Russia Photo: Italian spy sentenced to 29 years in prison (Getty Images)

The military tribunal in Rome has sentenced Italian Navy officer Walter Biot to 29 years and two months in prison for espionage in favor of Russia, reports Corriere della Sera.

In 2021, a military serviceman was arrested while attempting to hand over NATO's classified documents to the Russian Federation in exchange for a reward of 5,000 euros.

According to the investigation, the suspect covertly photographed 106 classified documents using a special smartphone and planned to transfer the SD card to Russian Embassy employee Dmitry Ostroukhov in Italy in exchange for a monetary reward.

Among the 19 photographed documents from NATO archives, some were labeled "highly confidential," and one was classified as "top secret." Some materials contained information on combating international terrorism, while others highlighted potential weaknesses of the Alliance.

Legal proceedings against Walter Biot

In a separate case heard by the civilian criminal court in January, the Italian officer was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment. Biotto is accused of espionage, disclosure of information that was supposed to remain secret in the interest of national security, and bribery.

In March 2023, the first-instance military court convicted Biot to 30 years in prison. The prosecution had sought a life sentence.

Pro-Russian spies in European countries

In October 2022, the Norwegian police arrested a Russian spy operating under a fabricated identity at the University of Tromsø. Investigators found that the suspect had forged documents in the name of a Brazilian citizen, although, in reality, he was an agent of Russian intelligence. The university rector did not rule out the possibility that there might be other Russian agents working at the institution.

Additionally, Russia is attempting to recruit some asylum seekers in Finland as spies.

According to Czech intelligence, Russian agents in Europe are active and assisting in circumventing EU sanctions.