A Russian banker who was convicted last year of secretly working as a spy in a New York City bank was deported to his native country on Wednesday, federal officials said.
U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement announced the removal of Evgeny Buryakov, who spent years in New York covertly working as an agent for Russia's foreign intelligence agency.
Buryakov went right from prison to a flight back to Moscow, accompanied by deportation officers, and was then turned over to Russian authorities, ICE said.
“Removing individuals like Mr. Buryakov represents ICE’s highest enforcement priority, which is protecting the national security of the United States,” ICE field office director Rebecca Adducci said in a statement.
Buryakov, 42, pleaded guilty in Manhattan Federal Court last March to conspiracy and was sentenced to 30 months behind bars. Former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara compared Buryakov’s spying to Cold War espionage.
Buryakov, who lived in Riverdale with his family as a private citizen, worked for the New York office of Vnesheconombank (VBE), a state-owned Russia bank.
Prosecutors said he used this gig as a cover for a spy ring that collected intelligence on U.S. sanctions against Russian banks, as well as American efforts to develop alternative energy sources.
One of Buryakov’s co-conspirators, Victor Podobnyy, had communications in 2013 with Carter Page — who eventually became a political adviser to Donald Trump.
Page said in a statement to CBS News that their talks were not sensitive, and that he had no idea he was speaking with a Russian spy.
“I shared basic immaterial information and publicly available research documents,” Page said.
ICE has ramped up its detainments and deportations of criminal immigrants and undocumented immigrants since President Trump took office. But many cases nationwide have involved immigrants who were detained for minor or unclear offenses, including some "dreamers" protected by the DACA program. The ACLU has filed lawsuits on behalf of some dreamers detained for ambiguous reasons.