Russian spy taught English at Dublin language school while studying at Trinity

The Russian spy who tried to infiltrate the International Criminal Court in The Hague using a “well-constructed cover identity” had taught at an English-language college in Dublin for more than a year.

Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov was accused of being a Russian GRU military intelligence agent and flew to the Netherlands from Brazil in April to work undercover at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

He used the false identity of a 33-year-old Brazilian citizen, Viktor Muller Ferreira.

He was spotted by Dutch security forces and refused entry to the Netherlands. He was returned to Brazil on the next available flight.

Previously, the 36-year-old studied political science at Trinity College Dublin under Victor Muller between 2014 and 2018.

His online CV (also in the name of Victor Muller) cites his professional experience, including just over a year at the International Student Center in Dublin, as student coordinator and assistant professor, from 2014 to 2015.

His CV indicates that he conducted General English exams, taught English for academic purposes in the international preparatory year (business, science and philosophy streams), covered academic skill areas in reading, writing, listening and speaking, and led academic tutorials in small groups. on general algebra and geometry courses.

After leaving TCD, he studied at Johns Hopkins University in the United States where a minor subject he took was conflict management, according to the document.

His Facebook profile, also in the name of Victor Muller, shows a list of friends that includes fellow TCD and Johns Hopkins University students, and several from Brazil, the country he claims to be from.

A Twitter page linked to him has been temporarily restricted.

In a statement, AVID, the Dutch intelligence service, said Cherkasov “used a well-constructed cover identity by which he concealed all his ties to Russia in general, and the GRU in particular.”

The statement added: “An officer of this type is better known as an ‘illegal’: an intelligence officer who has received long and thorough training. Because of their pseudonyms, the illegals are difficult to discover.

“For this reason, they often remain undetected, allowing them to carry out intelligence activities. Because they present themselves as foreigners, they have access to information that would be inaccessible to a Russian national.

“In addition to the GRU, the Russian intelligence service SVR also uses illegals.”

And he said: “The International Criminal Court is investigating possible war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine. The ICC is also investigating war crimes that took place during the Russian war in Georgia in 2008.

“For these reasons, secret access to information from the International Criminal Court would be very valuable to Russian intelligence services.”

The intelligence agency released the wording of a four-page document that contains a detailed “story” of the man Cherkasov claimed to be – a Brazilian whose family background included living in poverty.

It details school stories, including references to teachers and early work in a garage which he noted had a Pamela Anderson poster.

Under the personality of Victor Muller, he also created a geopolitical blog in 2017, with an article examining why American and European countries are “so democratic and developed”, and “why ‘they’ live according to the rule of law and we live by the rule of those who have a big wallet?

Sylvester L. Goldfarb