Russia’s Ambassador to Ireland has warned that an adoption agreement between both countries may be in jeopardy because of an Irish government investigation of stolen passports.
The stolen Irish passports were later used to set up fake identies for an “Irish” couple living in New Jersey and spying on Americans. The couple were arrested by the FBI who informed the Irish government of the theft
Ambassador Mikhail Timoshkin raised the concerns after a meeting with Debbie Deegan, director of Irish charity To Russia With Love. Deegan had revealed that a passport of a member of her organization had been stolen and used by Russian agents.
Special Branch detectives from the Gardai – the Irish police – are working to pinpoint where the Irish passport details used in a Russian spy ring where copied and then inserted into the forged documents, according to reports.
The FBI discovered the Irish passports when they smashed a Russian spy ring based in the U.S. The FBI tipped off the Irish police and the Department of Foreign Affairs, which began the investigation.
According to the Irish Independent, “one of the passports belonged to a volunteer with Irish charity To Russia With Love named as Kathryn Sherry and two others to a married couple in Co Donegal. All had all been granted visas at the Russian Embassy in Dublin.”
It’s not the first time that Irish passports have been used by alleged spies. Earlier this year, forged passports were used by members of the Israeli spy agency Mossad in the alleged murder of a Hamas activist, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.
According to the Irish Independent, “after gardai [Irish police] have completed a file, it will be studied by senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and, if the Russians are clearly implicated in the forgeries, a decision will be taken on whether diplomatic action should be taken.”
The Independent also reported that Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy said on Monday that “the nature of the investigation made a successful outcome more difficult. Some of the passports had been used internationally, and cross-border involvement created more obstacles for the investigation.”