MOSCOW (Dispatches) -- Russia
fired officials who allowed a former Kremlin employee and alleged
CIA informant to flee the country,
the Interfax news agency reported
U.S. media reports, confirmed to
Reuters by two sources, have said a
CIA informant in the Russian government was extracted and brought
to the United States in 2017.
Russian daily newspaper Kommersant has said that the official may
have been a man called Oleg Smolenkov, who disappeared with his
wife, Antonina, and three children
while on holiday in Montenegro in
June 2017. Kommersant showed a
picture of a house it said was later
bought by a family with the same
names in Stafford, Virginia, 40 miles
(65 km) from Washington.
The Kremlin has confirmed that
Smolenkov worked in the Russian
presidential administration, but said
he was fired in 2016/17 and that he
was not senior. A 2014 phone directory seen by Reuters lists him as
chief adviser to Yuri Ushakov, President Vladimir Putin’s top foreign
Russia said on Thursday it had
asked the United States via Interpol to confirm Smolenkov’s whereabouts.
Interfax cited a source familiar with
the situation on Friday as saying that
Smolenkov’s family holiday in Montenegro flouted rules at the time that
banned Russian officials from visiting the Balkan country.
"Soon after Smolenkov’s disappearance in June 2017, the relevant
law enforcement agencies started an
investigation which showed that the
officials who allowed an employee
of the presidential administration and
his family to holiday in Montenegro
had violated the (travel) ban,” the
source was cited as saying.
The ban was introduced in the
spring of that year due to heightened tensions between Russia and
Montenegro over an alleged failed
Moscow-backed coup in 2016, the
same source said. Russia denied any
involvement in the alleged coup.
"The actions of those responsible
were categorized as reckless and
lax control. Some of them (the officials) were punished, including being
Later, it became clear Smolenkov
was a defector, the source told Interfax.
According to U.S. press reports,
Smolenkov currently resides in
Washington DC and owns a luxurious home in the nearby city of Stafford, Virginia. NBC News reported
on Tuesday that its reporter knocked
on Smolenkov’s door, but was confronted with two men that he described as apparent U.S. government