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London Station Chief for Russian Flag Carrier Aeroflot Accused of High Treason, Detained in Moscow

London Station Chief for Russian Flag Carrier Aeroflot Accused of High Treason, Detained in Moscow

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The London station chief for Russian airline Aeroflot has been detained in Moscow accused of passing information about the socio-political situation in Russia to the British intelligence services. Dmitry Fedotkin was arrested on Wednesday by the Russian security services and placed into pre-trial detention by the Lefortovo Court in Moscow a day later according to the TASS news agency.

Fedotkin has worked as the London Heathrow station chief for the past five years according to his LinkedIn profile. He was previously the country manager for the UK for the two years before that. Fedotkin began his career with Aeroflot in April 2004 as a sales manager.

“Fedotkin is suspected of having betrayed secret information about the socio-political situation in the Russian Federation to the British intelligence service,” a spokesperson for the court explained. The security services claim Fedotkin did not have access to classified state secrets to pass onto British foreign intelligence, otherwise known as MI6.

He stands accused of High Treason under Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code and if found guilty could face between 12 and 20 years behind bars, as well as a 500,000 ruble ($6,445) fine.

Aeroflot has refused to comment on the arrest of their most senior person in London, instead saying they had no information about the investigation. Fedotkin has denied the charges and will appeal the decision to place him into pre-trial detention.

According to the Reuters news agency, Russia “periodically detains soldiers, scientists and state employees on suspicion of passing state secrets to foreign countries.”

Aeroflot was founded in 1923 and remains 51 per cent state-owned by the Russian Federation. Last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed details about an international smuggling ring that saw Aeroflot crew help illegally smuggle $50 million worth of Apple products like iPhones and Apple Watches out of the United States and into Russia.

113 Aeroflot employees have had their U.S. visas revoked for their alleged participation in the smuggling scheme and 10 individuals have been charged with the illegal exportation of electronic devices.

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