MOSCOW, December 7 (RAPSI) – The trial of Evgeny Buryakov, Russian national detained in the United States for alleged espionage on behalf of Russian secret service, will open in New York on Monday, RIA Novosti reported.
During the first session of the trial on Monday a court is expected to begin a jury selection as well as hear the opening statements of both prosecution and defense.
Buryakov, 39, who worked in the Manhattan office of a Russian bank, was arrested in the Bronx in January.
The two other Russians, Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podobnyy, who are implicated in the case have left the United States. Buryakov's family left the United States as well.
US prosecutors claim that the three men worked for Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, known as the SVR.
After Buryakov was arrested in January the consultations between the sides of the trials were made. Vnesheconombank, which was employing Buryakov prior to his arrest and is currently paying for his defense, decided to change the judicial firm representing his interests.
During the preliminary hearings Buryakov’s lawyers filed a motion to end a trial. Defense team challenged conclusions made by prosecution, conclusions postulating that Buryakov was an agent of foreign government because of his position within a Russian state-owned bank. Lawyers claimed that Vnesheconombank is a Russian state corporation and that U.S. authorities know of direct connection between state and the bank. Therefore Buryakov did not need any additional registration procedures as prosecutors claim.
Prosecutors said that Buryakov got a visa “to work as an employee of a bank in New Yourk” while his real job was to collect secret economic information.
The trial’s presiding judge Richard Berman dismissed the motion of the defense.
Buryakov, Sporyshev and Podobnyy, were asked to gather intelligence on potential US sanctions against Russian banks and the United States’ efforts to develop alternative energy resources, The US Justice Department said in a statement released in January.
The DOJ statement also said that Russian diplomats had been monitored by the FBI since 2012 and through 2014, and the gathered evidence leaves little doubt about the nature of their activities, as they openly discussed working for Russian intelligence.
Buryakov pleaded not guilty.
If convicted he faces up to 15 years in prison.