Canadian in US-Russia spy case jumps bail in Cyprus

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A Canadian man wanted in connection with an alleged Russian spy ring in the United States has gone missing in Cyprus where he jumped bail on Wednesday, police said.

Christopher Robert Metsos, 54, was arrested at the island's Larnaca airport on Tuesday after immigration officers discovered his name on a stop list.

Under the terms of his bail, a court allowed Metsos to go free on condition that he visits the police station in central Larnaca each day and surrender his travel documents.

But he failed to sign in on Wednesday between 6 and 8 pm as ordered by the court, which released him on 26,500 euros (32,330 dollars) bail to await extradition, police said.

"Police then went to check his hotel and he could not be located. After that we requested a warrant for his arrest" for breaching the terms of his bail, police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos told AFP.

"We are waiting for the warrant to be issued," he said.

Staff at the Canadian's hotel in Larnaca, meanwhile, said Metsos was last seen at the reception on Tuesday evening and had paid for two weeks in advance with a credit card.

An extradition hearing for Metsos has been scheduled for July 29. He arrived June 17 on the divided island where a breakaway Turkish Cypriot statelet in the north has served as a haven for fugitives in the past.

On Monday, US authorities announced the arrest of 10 "deep-cover" suspects accused of infiltrating policymaking and reporting back to Moscow. The Federal Bureau of Investigation secretly monitored the mission for more than 10 years.

Metsos has been named as the 11th suspect and said to have been under surveillance in Queens in New York in May 2004 when he received a bag containing money from an official associated with Russia's UN mission.

Two more suspects were followed in June 2006 to Wurstboro, New York, where they dug up a package of money allegedly buried there by Metsos.

Police told the court in Larnaca that Metsos was wanted in the United States for spying on behalf of Russia and for laundering 40,000 dollars (32,800 euros).

© 2010 AFP

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