Businessman tells of being held as Russian spy

DENIS SUGRUE is an alleged Russian spy who managed to come in from the cold of FBI suspicion.

The UCC graduate had settled into his seat on a Virgin Atlantic flight due to take off from Los Angeles for London. His plan was to get a connecting flight from Heathrow to Shannon.

Moments later what was to be a dream flight home turned into a nightmare.

Four FBI agents handcuffed him and bundled him off the plane. Over the next seven days the UCC electronics graduate was held in custody and grilled over long hours during which he was accused of being a Russian spy.

He was held under house arrest for a further eight days before being released without charge.

The amazing events following his arrest as an international spook are outlined in his book The Russians are Coming, which will be launched tonight in the White House Bar in Limerick.

Mr Sugrue, 58, a native of Salthill, Galway, graduated from UCC with a degree in electronics and went on to complete a Masters in 1975. He set up a technology company at the National Technological Park in Limerick. Amideon began to export electronic testing equipment to Russia and he moved to live in Moscow.

While there he linked up with a small Californian company and agreed to buy equipment from them to market in Russia.

In January 2005, Denis went on a business trip to Los Angeles to meet with his new business partners.

He said: “It seems some company sent a report to the FBI that the US company we were now doing business with were exporting defence equipment illegally to Russia.”

Newsweek spoke of his arrest as a case “touted by the FBI as a major breakthrough in curbing Russian espionage”, while Time ran a full-page news story.

Yesterday in Lu Lu’s Cafe in Catherine Street, Limerick, Mr Sugrue said: “It seems funny now, but it wasn’t funny then. I was under lock and key for seven days and I couldn’t move out when I was under house arrest. When the FBI told me I was working as a spy I was flabbergasted.”

He still lives in Moscow and has expanded his business into China marketing testing equipment made in Limerick.


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