Russian spy receives suspended sentence for espionage

Police detained Slovak provided sensitive information to Russians last year.

Russian spy Bohuš Garbár, as portrayed on February 28, 2023.Russian spy Bohuš Garbár, as portrayed on February 28, 2023. (Source: TASR - Ján Krošlák)

On Tuesday, the Specialised Criminal Court in Banská Bystrica approved a plea agreement between the Special Prosecutor's Office and Russian spy Bohuš Garbár.

Garbár provided information to the Russian secret service in the past, for which he has been found guilty of espionage. In addition, he has been convicted of accepting a bribe.

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The court sentenced the spy to three years in prison with three years of probation. Garbár will also have to pay €15,000 as a financial penalty.

His attorney Ján Čarnogurský, former Slovak prime minister and pro-Russian disinformer, declined to comment on his client's motivation behind providing sensitive information classified as "top secret" and "secret" to Russia. At the same time, the prosecutor refused to explain how the convict had managed to obtain information.

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Russian embassy worker recruits Slovak

In March 2022 the National Crime Agency brought an espionage charge against Garbár, who wrote for the Hlavné Správy disinformation website back in the day, and the former vice-rector of the Slovak military academy in Liptovský Mikuláš, Pavel Bučka. This was just a month after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Soon after the Denník N daily published a video that shows Garbár being recruited and paid by Russian Embassy staffer Sergey Solomasov.

Information for GRU

According to the police, Garbár had been collecting information for members of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU since April 2021. Bučka, who collected and retrieved information from the Slovak armed forces and NATO, has admitted to working for Russian intelligence since 2013.

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The police seized USB keys and notes about meetings with various people during their police search last year.

If a trial had taken place, Garbár could have faced up to 13 years in prison in the case of a guilty verdict.

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