Italian judges refuse to extradite alleged Russian handler of Portugal’s so-called NATO spy

The furore over secret service agent Frederico Carvalho Gil – arrested in May after allegedly being caught red-handed selling sensitive NATO information to a Russian spy – has been once again called into question after Italian judges refused to release Gil’s alleged handler to Portuguese authorities.

According to reports in the Italian press, Sergey Nicolaevich Pozdnyakov has now left jail in Rome and is under the protection of the Russian embassy as appeal court judges considered the arguments set out against him in a European Arrest Warrant “vague and smoky”.

The news is a boon for Gil who is fighting to clear his name from house arrest in Lisbon.

Gil’s lawyer José Preto explained to the Resident over a month ago that the case against his client is “absolute fantasy”, a “dangerous” situation in which “a fine man is being victimised for the mere necessity of propaganda”.

Preto has gone so far as to describe the Italian court’s decision as “a hammer blow to the root of the case” “as it shows quite simply the inexistence of facts” as set out by the Portuguese Public Ministry.

For the time being, however, the case remains active with Gil facing accusations of espionage, the violation of State secrets, corruption and money-laundering.

When he was first arrested at a café in Rome on May 21, national papers claimed Gil had been selling NATO secrets “possibly for years” for €10,000 a pop (click here).

Again, this is an allegation that Preto says his client vehemently refutes.

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