Israel denies Russian spy charges against military attache


JERUSALEM (JTA)  — Russian government claims that Israel’s military attaché to the country was spying are unfounded, the Israeli army said.

"The IDF Military Attache and Ministry of Defense representative in Russia, Col. Vadim Leiderman, was held back by a surprise investigation by the Russian government last week on suspicion of spying," said a statement Wednesday by the IDF Spokesman’s office. "He was taken to the headquarters and released after a short while due to diplomatic immunity because of his position."

Leiderman reportedly was arrested last week at a coffee shop in Moscow, where he was meeting with a Russian military officer. He and his family were given 24 hours to leave the country. He has been in Israel since last weekend.

"Defense officials in Israel did a thorough, deep check on Col. Leiderman and discovered the claims were unfounded. Col. Leiderman is currently in Israel and underwent a security investigation by defense forces over the weekend," the statement said.

According to Israeli media, Leiderman was investigated by the Shin Bet security service and the Defense Ministry and submitted to a lie detector test before the announcement.

Leiderman’s term was set to end in two months.

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