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Suspected Russian spy trained with Finnish experts

Laurea UAS experts attended an event focusing on cyber threats in Vilnius during September this year.

Laurea UAS has six campuses and about 7,800 students throughout Uusimaa. Image: Kalle Suomi / Yle

Two experts from Laurea University of Applied Sciences in Uusimaa attended an event in September which was also attended by a Russian man suspected of espionage by Norway. According to the Norwegian Police Security Service, the man, aged between 30 and 40, posed as a Brazilian but is in fact Russian.

“We have requested that a Brazilian researcher at the University of Tromsø be expelled from Norway because we believe he represents a threat to fundamental national interests,” Norway's police security service deputy chief Hedvig Moe told the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK (siirryt toiseen palveluun)

The Guardian (siirryt toiseen palveluun) reported that a local court ordered the individual to be held for four weeks after investigators believed to be working for one of Russia's intelligence services. 

The cyber security event was held in Lithuania's capital Vilnius, connected to a project on preparedness and response to hybrid threats. The project, coordinated by Laurea University of Applied Sciences (UAS), started in spring 2020 and is expected to run for five years.

"Two Laurea UAS experts have participated in a training event related to the project in Vilnius in late September. Apparently, this [person suspected of spying for Russia in Norway] has attended this same event," said Jouni Koski, Rector of Laurea UAS.

According to Koski, no confidential information was compromised during the event.

"Directly, this has no consequences, because this person has not visited or stayed at our university. In the future, however, Laurea will be more careful in assessing the risks associated with various projects," Koski noted.

The suspect arrived in Norway in autumn 2021 and has been working as a researcher at the University of Tromsø in the north of the country. His research interests have included hybrid threats and hybrid warfare.

Laurea UAS has six campuses in Uusimaa and around 7,800 students. Cyber security is one of the main study areas in several different locations of the school. Laurea UAS employs around 600 people.

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