Estonia cuffs suspect, claims he's a Russian 'hacker spy'

20-year-old is not an agent, Russia retorts

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Russia has denied that a person nabbed by Estonian local authorities was one of its spies. Estonia alleges the suspect had been intent on hacking into the Baltic country’s computer network.

Alexei Vasilyev, 20, was arrested in the northeastern border city Narva on 4 November as he was about to leave Estonia by officials of the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS). The Russian national has since been detained on suspicion of being an agent of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

Russian ambassador to Estonia Alexander Petrov told Interfax on Monday that he was “perplexed as to why the Estonian authorities said right after his detention that he is an FSB agent”, Estonian news outlet ERR reports.

Local reports suggest the arrest is not connected to recent security problems with Estonia's ID-card nor is it connected to Estonia’s current term of presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The suspect is alleged by Estonia to have been making preparations into a hack into unspecified Estonian state institutions. According to the Estonians, these activities were "monitored throughout" and were "unsuccessful". No further details of the alleged offences have been released to date.

"Acting against the Republic of Estonia as an agent of a foreign power's special service is definitely a serious crime and we will find out all important details as soon as possible," state prosecutor Inna Omblerr said, the Baltic Times reports. "At present we can say without disclosing any details that bigger damage was prevented.” ®


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