A Russian citizen who worked in Manhattan as a banker asked a federal judge June 11 to toss out charges that he participated in a Cold War-style Russian spy ring.
Lawyers for Evgeny Buryakov, who remains in jail after his arrest in January, said the case should be disallowed despite an avalanche of video and audio recordings of his alleged spying activities collected by prosecutors.
The United States has never before prosecuted an individual working openly for a foreign state-owned agency, Russia's Vneshekonombank, on charges that he failed to notify authorities of his status as an agent of a foreign government, the lawyers argued.
U.S. laws make clear that someone like Buryakov, who is "officially sponsored" by a foreign government, does not need to separately register, they said.
Prosecutors have said that from 2012 through January, Buryakov teamed up with low-level diplomats to gather sensitive economic intelligence on potential U.S. sanctions against Russian banks and on efforts in the United States to develop alternative energy resources.