The prosecution has filed an indictment against two alleged Russian spies who were arrested in Slovenia in December, media reported on 3 March. The prosecution also asked the court to remand the pair in custody as the three-month period during which they can be held in detention is running out.
According to the N1 news web portal and the newspaper Delo, the indictment was filed by the Ljubljana district state prosecutor’s office as the investigation had reportedly been concluded.
The alleged spies have been in custody for three months under suspicion of committing the criminal act of espionage, which carries a prison sentence of up to five years. This is the first such case in independent Slovenia.
The three-month period during which they can be held in detention expires on 5 March, which means they were going to be released had the prosecution not filed the indictment and sought extension of detention.
The prosecution confirmed for N1 the indictment had been filed within the prescribed period.
The couple suspected of spying for Russia were apprehended by Slovenian authorities in early December on a tip-off from SOVA, the national intelligence and security agency, which had identified them with the help of NATO and EU partners.
They lived in Slovenia under false identities as Ludwig Gisch and Maria Rosa Mayer Munos, a 38-year-old couple from Argentina. They have two children, who N1 sources say have been taken care of after their arrest.
The detainees are believed to be members of the Russian military intelligence organisation GRU or the external intelligence agency SVR.
They ran a real-estate agency and an antiques business in Ljubljana as a cover-up, both of which companies were registered in 2017.
They have also been charged with the criminal act of certification of untrue content, which carries a prison sentence of up to three years, in relation to the registration of their businesses, based in Parmova Street in Ljubljana, with a notary.
The man and woman reportedly used Ljubljana as a base for spying in Slovenia and other countries for at least six years, the 24ur web portal reported.
Business registers show they had permanent residences registered in the Argentinean capital of Buenos Aires.