A man arrested on espionage charges is an elite Russian spy who had been collecting intelligence on Canada for more than a decade, Canadian authorities say in court documents.
The man was taken into custody by the Canada Border Services agency on Nov. 14 after authorities said a man identified as Paul William Hampel was in fact a foreign national suspected of engaging in acts of espionage that threatened Canadian security.
In documents filed in Federal Court in Montreal on Tuesday, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) officials said they had grounds to believe Hampel is a member of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), a successor to the KGB. He was scheduled to appear in court yesterday.
They said Hampel had used a fraudulent birth certificate to obtain at least three Canadian passports and recommended that he immediately be deported.
"Hampel's establishment of a legend based on Canadian documentation has provided him with the ability to covertly further the interests of the SVR for over a decade both within Canada and abroad" the federal summary reads.
The documents said when Hampel was detained and searched by authorities at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport on Nov. 14, they found his fraudulent Ontario birth certificate in a travel pouch under his shirt; C$7,800 (US$6,810) in five currencies; three cellphones; five SIM cards (several of which were password protected); two digital cameras and a short wave radio.
Details of his three Canadian passport applications in 1995, 2000 and 2002 were included in the documents. Though most of the contents were blacked out, the first two applications claimed that Hampel was a lifeguard and travel consultant.
"An SVR illegal is an elite Russian intelligence officer," said the documents filed on behalf of CSIS, Canada's intelligence arm.
"llegals are secretly deployed abroad, operate covertly under assumed names and life stories and masquerade as citizens of target countries," the documents said.
Calls to the Russian Embassy in Ottawa and the SVR in Moscow were not immediately returned.
The last time Russian spies were captured and booted from Canada was in 1996, when Dmitriy Olshevsky and Yelena Olshevskaya, who went by the bogus names Ian and Laurie Lambert.
Friends and colleagues were stunned to learn the pair were actually "sleeper" agents for the SVR.
Hampel's attorney, Stephane Handfield, said Hampel would seek a delay in the proceedings aimed at deporting him because he only received the summary of the evidence against him on Tuesday.
Handfield also complained his client had problems trying to get hold of his lawyers last week.
He said he met with Hampel on Sunday, but would not say where his client is being detained.