U.S. Ally Could Hand Biden New Advantage Over Putin

(RepublicanReport.org) – In March 2023, the US Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia announced that Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov was operating as an “illegal” agent for the Russian Intelligence Service (RIS). The office said Cherkasov, working under the name Victor Muller Ferreira, was charged with visa, bank, and wire fraud in addition to acting as an agent of a foreign power. He was already in jail in Brazil on other fraud charges. Now, he faces even more legal trouble.

On February 1, Newsweek reported that the Russian spy was hit with new charges related to money laundering. Some reports say these new charges in Brazil could stop Cherkasov’s extradition to Russia — his homeland. That could present President Joe Biden with a golden opportunity for a prisoner swap deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin — US citizens detained in Russia for the Russian spy.

In May 2023, CNN Politics reported that the Biden administration was already evaluating high-value Russians for a prisoner swap to bring Americans home. Orlando Criminal Justice Attorney David Haas suggested Evan Gershkovich, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, and former US Marine Paul Whelan as possibilities. They’ve reportedly been detained since 2023 and 2018, respectively.

Both the United States and Russia currently have extradition requests for Cherkasov. The US last attempted to extradite him in July 2023, but the request was denied by Brazilian authorities, who stated at the time the United States didn’t have grounds and that Brazil would likely send him to Russia instead. But things have changed, and that could be off the table now. Since Brazil is a US ally, that could work in its favor. According to Haas, prisoner swaps are not the same as extradition requests, so even if the Brazilian government denies America’s new extradition request, a prisoner exchange could still be possible.

Neither the White House nor the Brazilian government have publicly weighed in on the matter.

Copyright 2024, RepublicanReport.org