US 'disappointed' with Cyprus in spy case

1st July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The United States said Thursday it was "disappointed" with Cyprus for creating the conditions in which a key suspect in a Russia-US spy scandal disappeared on the island.

Canadian Christopher Metsos, an alleged paymaster for the Kremlin, was arrested Tuesday as he tried to board a flight out of Cyprus. But a judge allowed him to remain free on bail pending an extradition hearing.

"We are disappointed that Christopher Metsos was released on bail following his arrest in Cyprus," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.

"As we had feared, having been given, unnecessarily, the chance to flee, he did so," Crowley said.

Crowley said it was too early to say if the United States had made a formal diplomatic protest to Cyprus over the case.

Earlier Thursday in Nicosia, the US ambassador to Cyprus, Frank Urbancic, met with President Demetris Christofias.

Cypriot authorities said they hoped to re-arrest Metsos and were watching all exit points from the Mediterranean island, as well as the UN-monitored line dividing the Turkish-held north from the Greek Cypriot south.

Metsos is wanted by the United States as an alleged Kremlin paymaster for spies and is accused of laundering 40,000 dollars.

He is said to have been under surveillance in New York City in May 2004 when he received a bag containing money from an official associated with Russia's UN mission.

© 2010 AFP

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