Classmates in Trinity said he was a quiet student who didn’t socialise much with his peers...
Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, who used the Brazilian alias of Victor Muller Ferreira, lived in Ireland for a number of years undetected.
However, he was publicly unmasked as a spy after he tried to infiltrate the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands earlier this year.
Cherkasov was identified by western intelligence officials as a Russian spy who travelled to the Netherlands under the false pretences that he had obtained an internship at the ICC which is investigating alleged war crimes involving Russia.
Cherkasov spent four years studying at Trinity College Dublin under his false Brazilian identity where he completed a political science degree in 2018, and was believed to have been operational in this period.
Classmates in Trinity said he was a quiet student who didn’t socialise much with his peers.
He was refused entry to the Netherlands and sent to Brazil earlier this year where he was sentenced to 15 years in jail for using false Brazilian documents.
He remains under investigation in Brazil for alleged activities as a spy as he also lived there while building up his false identity before moving to Ireland.
Dutch intelligence officials say Cherkasov was a member of Russian intelligence known as GRU.
Unlike spies who operate under diplomatic cover attached to embassies, it is alleged Cherkasov was an illegal agent who operated under deep-cover.
Such spies are usually recruited at a very young age in the hope they will operate for years, and even decades, undetected.
Cherkasov had not been identified as a spy by security services while in Trinity, but Irish authorities received intelligence about his activities around a year before his arrest.
After getting his degree in Ireland he moved to the US where he did a master’s at John Hopkins University in Maryland.
Cherkasov still denies he is a spy.
Following his arrest in Brazil earlier this year, Russian authorities reportedly initially said he had no criminal record in Russia.
However, officials are now seeking his return home after claiming he is wanted there in relation to drug trafficking and criminal association, according to BBC Brazil who have obtained a tranche of documents related to the case.
Despite claiming the crimes took place before 2011, Russian authorities only sought Interpol’s help in arresting him after his arrest in Brazil.
Cherkasov has told Brazilian authorities in a statement made on video that he wants to be extradited back to Russia.
“I want to be extradited to Russia and I agree with the accusations that Russia has made and I intend to respond to the facts and my crimes that are alleged by Russia in my state as soon as possible,” he said.
The request will be decided by the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court.