Italian Naval Officer Sentenced for Spying for Russia

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.20 - 2024 10:19 AM CET

Italian Naval Officer Sentenced for Spying for Russia.

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An Italian court has handed down a 20-year prison sentence to Walter Biot, a former Italian Navy officer, for espionage activities on behalf of Russia, as reported by the Italian news agency ANSA on January 19.

Biot, who once held the rank of frigate captain in the Italian Navy, was apprehended in March 2021 for transmitting secret NATO documents to Russian embassy personnel in a shopping mall in Rome.

He was found to have photographed 19 confidential documents, including some labeled “Top Secret,” in exchange for a payment of EUR 5,000 ($5,292).

The prosecution initially requested an 18-year sentence for Biot’s crimes.

This incident led to diplomatic tensions between Italy and Russia, resulting in the expulsion of two Russian embassy staff members from Italy in 2021.

Biot's wife, speaking in 2021, attributed her husband's espionage to financial strains aggravated by salary reductions during the COVID-19 pandemic. She maintained that Biot's intention was to provide only “insignificant” information to Russian intelligence.