Italian Navy officer arrested for selling secrets to Russia

The Russian embassy in Rome

  ROME - An officer of the Italian Navy has been arrested by Carabinieri ROS investigators in flagrante for passing state secrets to a Russian officer working at the Russian Embassy in Rome, official sources said Wednesday. He was arrested, along with the officer from the Russian armed forces, immediately following a clandestine meeting on Tuesday night in which the classified documents were exchanged for a sum of money, said the sources.

  The Italian is the captain of an Italian Navy frigate. The two are accused of crimes relating to espionage and the security of the state. The Russian officer is expected to be expelled from the country as diplomatic status protects him from official arrest.

  The Foreign Ministry, headed by Luigi Di Maio, has requested an urgent meeting with the Russian ambassador Sergey Razov.

  A search of the apartment of the Italian captain has revealed, as well as highly classified Italian state documents, documents pertaining to NATO operations, endangering the state security of not just Italy but other countries as well, intelligence sources said. 

  A report by the Italian Information and Internal Security Agency (AISI) first revealed a relationship between the two officers a few months ago, and their movements have been tracked since then, the sources said.

 The Carabinieri's Special Operations Unit (ROS) had been waiting until they had verified their crimes and witnessed the handover of money.