GRU spy’s dating profile picture taken near spy headquarters

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One of the seven Russian spies who waged cyber warfare against the west posted his details on a dating website, allowing the profile to be traced to within 650 metres of state intelligence headquarters.

Alexei Sergey Vich Morenets uploaded a picture of his face to the website mylove.ru using a photograph taken in the Russian capital.

When he wasn’t targeting anti-doping agencies and helping spread fake news in a bid to level allegations of substance abuse at western athletes, the 41-year-old appeared to be seeking women aged 21 to 30 in Moscow.

It was also possible to geolocate the profile to within 650 of the GRU headquarters, Bellingcat reports. 

And the profile picture appears to have been taken close to the intelligence base. The famous Panasonic building is clearly in shot, indicating it was taken on Komsomolsky Prospekt.

News of this latest blunder surfaced today after yesterday’s revelations that President Vladimir Putin’s elite squad even created the fake ‘hacktivist’ group Fancy Bears to disseminate misleading statements designed to exonerate Russia of doping allegations.

The hackers targeted FIFA, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Organisation for the Prevention of the use of Chemical Weapons as it investigated both the Salisbury novichok attack in the UK as well as the Douma chemical weapons attack in Syria. 

But the spies left a trail of clues thanks to six blunders during their international campaign.

It started when one spy was caught with a mobile phone that had been activated on the GRU’s doorstep in Moscow. 

Then a taxi receipt revealed a journey from GRU headquarters to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport the very day that four agents arrived in Amsterdam, when two of the spies were seen using consecutive passport numbers.

Operatives who would later be found with an Aldi bag of empty lager cans even tried to carry out covert operations using a public wi-fi hotspot. 

And when the men were arrested, they were caught with €20,000 (£17,000 or $23,025) and $20,000 (£15,000) in cash. The group also tried – and failed – to destroy a mobile phone, and they were caught with incriminating laptops. 

One laptop even contained selfies from the 2016 Olympics in Brazil where Russian athletes’ doping samples were tampered with and US athletes’ medical records leaked.

And late last night it was revealed that a laptop had the Spiez laboratory in its search history. 

Train tickets revealed that the spies planned to visit the centre in Bern on April 17. It houses the Swiss body that protects the population against nuclear, biological and chemical attacks or other dangers.

The men being sought by the FBI are all Russian nationals and residents: Aleksei Morenets, 41, Evgenii Serebriakov, 37, Ivan Yermakov, 32, Artem Malyshev, 30, and Dmitriy Badin, 27, from the GRU’s Unit 26165, and Oleg Sotnikov, 46, and Alexey Minin, 46, who were also GRU officers. 

 

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