On June 19, a court in Moscow placed a woman named Karina Tsurkan under arrest on espionage charges, according to the news agency TASS. A spokesperson for the court identified Tsurkan as a foreign national, saying she will be detained until at least August 13, while investigators build their case, the details of which have been classified.
Since 2012, Tsurkan has reportedly served on the executive board of the energy holding company “Inter.” Before joining the board, she managed Inter’s geographical divisions in Moldova, Ukraine, Romania, and Europe. According to the company’s website, Tsurkan received her higher education in Moldova and Spain. The company’s website also claims that she has Russian citizenship, meaning that she theoretically should have been charged with treason (Criminal Code Article 275), not espionage (Criminal Code Article 276), which only applies to foreign citizens and carries a 20-year maximum prison sentence.
Spokespeople for Inter told the news agency Interfax that Tsurkan is currently on vacation, refusing to comment further. Sources told the newspaper Kommersant that Tsurkan is suspected of working with businessmen allegedly connected to Romanian intelligence. The newspaper also reports that federal agents searched the offices of high-ranking officials at the Energy Ministry, as part of their investigation into Tsurkan. Inferfax says three different sources have confirmed that these raids targeted Deputy Energy Minister Vyacheslav Kravchenko, who will allegedly serve as a witness against Tsurkan. Russia's Energy Ministry refused to comment on the matter to Interfax.