The Netherlands’ intelligence service reported last Thursday that they caught a Russian spy posing as a Brazilian national who was allegedly planning to infiltrate the International Criminal Court.

The Russian spy, now revealed to be Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov flew to the Netherlands last April. He used his fake identity as a 33-year-old Brazilian citizen with the name “Viktor Muller Ferreira.” He allegedly built this identity and cover story over the past 12 years. Later, the Dutch authorities stated that he was part of Russia’s GRU military intelligence branch.

The Russian spy was trying to enter the Netherlands using a fake ID, which was identified by the airport officials as by Brazil’s federal police. According to reports, he somehow obtained a six-month trial period at the International Criminal Court as a junior analyst in the Preliminary Examinations Sections.

After being outed by the Dutch authorities, he was immediately booked a one-way ticket back to Brazil. There, the Brazilian authorities arrested Cherkasov for identity fraud.

“On these grounds, the intelligence officer was refused entry into the Netherlands in April and declared unacceptable. He was sent back to Brazil on the first flight out,” the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) said.

Something From A Spy Movie

Cherkasov’s story is something you’d likely see in a spy film. The Russian man had lived abroad in Brazil for an undisclosed number of years. He reportedly had spent some time living in Ireland and the United States before returning to Brazil, where he entered sometime in 2010.

During this time, he tried to hide all of his connections to Russia by burying them over a “well-constructed cover identity.”

The Dutch authorities would discover and release a four-page document which is thought to be written by Cherkasov during those years he tried to maintain and create his identity. The highly detailed document written in broken Portuguese with many grammatical errors was filled with the so-called “life” of “Viktor Muller Ferreira.”

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Here he claimed that he was nicknamed a “Gringo” by his locale in Brazil as he did not look Brazilian but looked like a German in an attempt to cover his Russian roots. The document included stories about his troubled and alienated relationship with his parents, his crush on a former teacher, and, oddly – his personal hatred for a fish.

Furthermore, the document also included his favorite restaurants in Brazil, where he named a few eateries and the “best stew in town” and a few music clubs to bolster his cover story that he was indeed a Brazilian.

The Brazilian authorities later revealed that the Brazillian name he had taken was that of a man whose parents were reportedly dead.

“Using a sophisticated falsification scheme, he assumed the forged identity of a Brazilian whose parents are already dead,” the Brazilian federal police said in a statement.

“This was a long-term, multi-year GRU operation that cost a lot of time, energy, and money,” Dutch intelligence agency chief Erik Akerboom said.

Russian War Crimes Investigations

He would later gain an internship at the International Criminal Court. It is hypothesized that Russia deployed him to the ICC to infiltrate it as the ICC is currently heading the investigations for Russia’s alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity that the Ukrainians reported to the international authorities.

Had Cherkasov been successful in reaching the ICC, he would have gained access to ICC documents and been able to gather intelligence. Furthermore, he could have also tried to recruit insiders within the ICC and could have infiltrated the ICC’s digital systems.

Last March, SOFREP reported that the ICC had initiated investigations on these alleged war crimes and genocide, among others, as announced by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan. The process to start the investigation was expedited as 39 nations submitted their referral for the investigation to the international body at The Hague. The investigation is reportedly encompassing Russian war crimes dating back to 2013, events that led to the Russian annexation of Crimea.

International Criminal Court, The Hague (OSeveno, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons). Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:International_Criminal_Court_building_(2016)_in_The_Hague.png
International Criminal Court, The Hague (OSevenoCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

On May 17th, the International Criminal Court sent its largest team so far to investigate the allegations against Russia. The team comprises 42 members comprised of several investigators, forensic experts, and support staff. According to Khan, they will be gathering witnesses and their testimonies, as well as identifying forensic materials so that they have enough evidence that can put Russian officials behind bars. Khan said that the team wants to ensure that “evidence is collected in a manner that strengthens its admissibility in future proceedings.”

In addition, French forensic experts were also sent to Ukraine to work with the ICC. Khan reportedly said that the entirety of Ukraine was a “crime scene” as he visited the town of Bucha, a town where the Russians allegedly slaughtered and massacred hundreds of Ukrainian civilians in an effort to scare the local population into obedience. It is also hypothesized that the Russians killed and tortured these civilians as they were frustrated with how they were fairing against the Ukrainians during that time when they were lacking in food and fuel supplies, leaving them sitting ducks against Ukrainian hit-and-run tactics.

The International Criminal Court would later thank the Dutch authorities for apprehending and exposing the Russian spy.

“The International Criminal Court was briefed by the Dutch authorities and is very thankful to The Netherlands for this important operation and more generally for exposing security threats,” ICC Spokeswoman Sonia Robla.