GoFundMe for ex-Dáil intern accused of spying for Russia mysteriously disappears
Fundraiser for Marina Sologub had raised more than $4,500
An online fundraising appeal to pay the legal costs for a former Leinster House intern accused of being a Russian spy has mysteriously disappeared.
The GoFundMe page was set up earlier this month to raise $30,000 (€28,000) to help Marina Sologub (39) defend herself against the accusations, and her deportation from Australia.
The Marina Sologub GoFundMe page had raised more than $4,500 when it was suddenly taken down early last week.
A now removed post said the allegations that Ms Sologub is a Russian spy are “false” and that her family is “desperate” and struggling to raise money to fight her case.
“An innocent, hard-working woman had her visa stripped, her employment terminated and is now left with no way to pay for her legal fees to fight this injustice without appealing to the public,” the post claimed.
Ms Sologub, a Soviet-born, Cork-raised Irish citizen, was declared a potential national security threat by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation because of her alleged Russian links.
Her visa was revoked late last month, and she was ordered to leave Australia, in a case that made international headlines.
Lawyers acting for Ms Sologub declined to comment on the case when contacted by the Sunday Independent.
Ms Sologub has not commented publicly on the accusations.
She was born in Kazakhstan and raised in Westmeath and Cork, where she studied at University College Cork.
She worked at Ireland’s National Space Centre (NSC) in Cork as a business manager and travelled frequently to Russia.
Ms Sologub completed work placements with former TDs, Bernard Allen and Willie Penrose and also worked for Irish Water and Bord Gáis.
In 2020 she moved to Australia on a Distinguished Talent visa. According to her CV, she worked for Deloitte consultants, then for a private space company and at the City of Marion Council in Adelaide.
The post on the GoFundMe page claimed that soon after she started working there last year, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation raided her home on foot of an anonymous tip-off.
The post claimed the agency took “almost every single electronic device, making copies of every single document and interviewing Marina”.
It also claimed that over the following year she was interviewed a number of times without legal representation.
Ms Sologub had recently obtained a mortgage to buy a house and was about to celebrate her birthday when she was detained late last month.
“Imagine that you work as a clerical officer for a local government organisation. Imagine that at 9pm on a Thursday night, there is a knock on your door, and you are taken into custody, immigration custody, and your visa, giving you permission to reside in Australia, is instantly revoked,” the post stated.
“This is the predicament Marina Sologub finds herself in as she was invited to Australia on a distinction talent visa and has been falsely accused of being a Russian spy.
“So what wonderful information from the local government organisation could she possibly pass to the Russian state? Information about rubbish collection?”
According to the post, Ms Sologub’s family are “struggling” as she is the main bread winner and cannot work.
It said her husband is an engineer by profession but is “disabled” and is working as a labourer.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Ms Sologub had spent months cultivating contacts in Australian government and business.
An Garda Síochána have sought information from the Australian authorities on the matter.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it cannot intervene in “matters related to another country’s immigration decisions”.
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