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Newsline: Norway expels Russian diplomat in spy case

Norway’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday expelled a Russian diplomat linked to the case of a man jailed on accusations of spying for Russia, officials said. “We have today informed the Russian ambassador that one of his employees is unwanted in Norway and has been asked to leave the country. This is because the person in question has performed actions that are not compatible with his role and status as a diplomat,” Siri R. Svendsen told The Associated Press. (https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/suspected-norway-spy-work-defense-projects-72463642) It was unclear whether the expelled diplomat was the Russian intelligence officer that Norwegian authorities said was meeting with the suspected spy in an Oslo restaurant when he was arrested on Saturday. The accused man has not been officially identified beyond that he is a Norwegian national in his 50s who was born abroad. However, Norwegian broadcaster NRK identified him as Harsharn Singh Tathgar. The man’s employer said Tuesday that he was heading an industry project on 3D printing and had no security clearance and didn’t work on projects for the defense industry, the Norwegian Armed Forces or other governmental agencies. Norway-based DNV GL, a major global classification society for ships, said in a statement the man had not had any line management responsibilities for a number of years. The man was arrested Saturday in a pizza restaurant. On Monday, he was remanded in custody for four weeks. The man has admitted receiving money — a sum that the judge who remanded him in custody said was a “not insignificant amount.” If convicted, he faces a maximum prison term of 15 years. The last time NATO-member Norway declared a Russian diplomat “persona non grata” was in March 2018 when several countries expelled dozens of Russian diplomats after Moscow refused to explain how a Russian-made nerve agent was used on a former spy in Britain. Russia denied the accusations and responded with tit-for-tat expulsions.

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