Azerbaijani official Samir Sharifov accused of spying

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Azerbaijan Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov allegedly worked as a "triple agent" for Russian, Turkish, and US intelligence agencies, according to a report by Ukrainian online newspaper Gordon last Wednesday.

Sharifov allegedly worked as a human asset for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service before Turkish intelligence recruited him in South Yemen in 1989–1990. Soon after, he allegedly began working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In the Gordon article, their source ascribed this information to "sources in the Russian intelligence community" who said, "[Russia's] agencies penetrated the U.S. intelligence community and obtained important information about some of its human assets."

The claims made in the article have not been verified, according to Russian newspaper Нефть России ((ru)) Russian language: Oil of Russia .

Mais Piriyev, press secretary for the Azerbaijan Ministry of Finance, said Sharifov would not comment on what Piriyev called provocative, ridiculous claims. Piriyev told reporters, "Lack of seriousness in Yuri Shvet's claims can be seen immediately. Only three countries? Where [is] Mossad, special services of the UK and other countries?"

Former Azerbaijani diplomat Arif Mammadov has publicly supported the accusations. In a statement on social media, Mammadov wrote, "The country has a very powerful network that is working against the state. It consists of the most influential people — ministers, deputy ministers, senior representatives of the presidential administration."

The Gordon article was published on the eve of Sharifov's trip to the United States to discuss financing for the Southern Gas Corridor energy project.