Russian spy studied at Trinity College Dublin for four years before trying to infiltrate International Criminal Court

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A Russian spy uncovered by Dutch intelligence officials attempting to infiltrate the International Criminal Court spent four years studying a politics degree at Trinity College, Independent.ie can reveal.

ergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, a Russian operative who used the Brazilian alias of Victor Muller Ferreira, attended Trinity College for four years between 2014-2018 while completing a Political Science degree.

The Dutch Intelligence Service picked Cherkasov up at a Dutch Airport for attempting to use a false identity to infiltrate the International Criminal Court (ICC) which is investigating accusations of war crimes in Ukraine.

Cherkasov (36), who studied at the Dublin college under the alias of Victor Muller, graduated with a first class honours in November 2018, having finished his studies in May of that year, majoring in Political Science and Quantitative methods of Research. He claimed to have achieved a QCA of 3.87.

Independent.ie also obtained a photograph of Victor Muller receiving his degree in November 2018, which he posted online captioned with “Leaving Trinity”.

Trinity College Dublin said it could not comment on the matter due to GDPR regulations prohibiting the college discussing past students, but this paper was able to independently verify that Cherkasov did in fact obtain a degree from Trinity College.

Cherkasov also lists the Dublin International Study Centre as a place of work from June 2014 to August 2015, where he claims to have taught students “reading skills, writing skills, listening and speaking skills,” as well as leading “small group academic tutorials on General Algebra and Geometry classes”. The Irish Independent has not been able to independently verify this claim.

The Russian spy created an elaborate cover story dating back years to try and enter the Netherlands as a Brazilian national for an internship at the Hague-based ICC in April. In an online CV, Cherkasov listed his studies in Dublin, which The Irish Independent was able to corroborate.

Cherkasov was identified by western intelligence officials as a Russian spy and travelled to The Netherlands under the false pretences that he had obtained an internship at the ICC. He was picked up by intelligence officials on arrival.

The Dutch Intelligence Service also published a four-page back story that Cherkasov had invented, including details of a troubled childhood in Brazil and an affinity for bean stew and trance music.

“Cherkasov used a well-constructed cover identity by which he concealed all his ties with Russia in general, and the GRU in particular,” a statement from the Dutch authorities said.

His ruse as a Brazilian national is believed to have dated as far back as a decade ago. Cherkasov was declared an undesirable upon being detained at a Dutch airport and sent to Brazil, where he will now face court proceedings.

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

“It clearly shows us what the Russians are up to – trying to gain illegal access to information within the ICC. We classify this as a high-level threat,” Akerboom added, saying the ICC had accepted him for an internship.

ICC spokesperson Sonia Robla said the court was grateful to Dutch authorities for the operation and the exposing of security risks. “The ICC takes these threats very seriously and will continue to work and cooperate with The Netherlands,” she said.

There was no immediate comment on the case from Brazilian authorities.



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