Canadian naval officer admits to spying for Russia

A Canadian naval officer has pleaded guilty to charges of selling classified information to the Russian military.

Updated: Oct 11, 2012, 20:19 PM IST

Moscow: A Canadian naval officer, arrested in Canada on suspicion of espionage, has pleaded guilty to charges of selling classified information to the Russian military.

Canada`s CBC television network said Sub-Lieutenant Jeffrey Paul Delisle, 41, who served at a Canadian naval intelligence centre in Halifax, was taken into custody in January.

Attorney Lyne Decarie said he provided his Russian handlers material downloaded from the computer at the HMCS Trinity intelligence facility, which shares information with intelligence communities in the US, Britain and other countries.

Prosecutors alleged that his Russian handlers paid Delisle $3,000 a month for the information, which was mainly military intelligence but also included reports on organised crime as well as personal information on politicians and senior members of the intelligence community.

Delisle`s spying, which apparently began in 2007, caused "severe and irreparable damage to Canadian interests", prosecutors said.

Delisle has confessed via his lawyer to all the allegations, CBC said. He faces life in prison for "passing secrets to the enemy".

The charges were brought under the information security law adopted in December 2001 after the 9/11 terror attack in the US.

Delisle came under suspicion last year after Canadian customs officials found that he had returned from a four-day trip to Brazil with $10,000 in cash and $40,000 in prepaid debit cards, which he had in fact received from a Russian contact in Rio de Janeiro, according to the allegations.

The matter was turned over to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which surreptitiously hijacked the e-mail address that Delisle used to send the secret material to his handlers.