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The Bellingcat investigative group has tracked down a Russian spy who infiltrated NATO circles in Naples under a false identity.
During the 10-month investigation, journalists gathered a series of startling evidence and strange tales about Maria Adela Kohfeldt Rivera, nicknamed Olga Kolobova, who died this week. have posted. The results offer a revealing look into the world of the GRU, the Russian intelligence agency.
The investigation into the spy was prompted by her remarkable name in a database containing the passport numbers of suspected Russian spies. A few years ago, Bellingcat revealed that GRU spies had obtained forged passports for years with nearly identical serial numbers. The last three digits of these ID numbers were the only difference.
In Maria Adela’s passport number, even one was different from the two Russian spies “Ruslan Boshirov” and “Alexander Petrov”, nicknamed Alexander Myshkin and Anatoly Chepiga, suspected of poisoning case For former double agent Sergei Skripal.
One researcher, Christo Grosev, wrote, “Maria Adela really stood out by her non-Russian name.” on Twitter. “Was it an innocent foreigner who obtained Russian citizenship by chance with a number that falls within this range (from suspicious passport numbers, ed.)?”
Then Bellingcat decided to delve into the mystery woman. Through Google and social media, they found out that she lived in Naples between 2013 and 2018, where she lived a successful life as a jewelry designer and social.
In addition, her name appeared on the list of board members of the Naples branch of the Lions Club, a charitable organization operating worldwide. The Naples branch was established by a NATO employee in Italy. Besides professionalism, Maria Adela also had romantic relationships with several NATO officers.
She marketed her jewelry line under the name Sareen. She was so successful that she traveled to Bahrain in 2014 to present a set of buttons to the then prime minister, Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
She told her new friends that she was raised by her adoptive parents in the Soviet Union after her biological Peruvian mother and German father abandoned her in Moscow during the 1980 Olympics. Hence her distinctive name with Spanish and German sounds.
However, there were a number of suspicious cases that caused Bellingcat to keep searching for the identity of the real woman. In September 2018, she disappeared from radar screens for two months, leaving Italy with her cat, Luisa. Her friends did not understand where she had gone.
In November, after two months of radio silence, she posted a surprising message on Facebook, saying that she was recovering from cancer.
However, investigators found out that Maria Adela left for Moscow. It did so on September 15, the day after Bellingcat revealed that the GRU had operated with consecutive passport numbers for years.
On September 14, the day of publication, two GRU commanders called each other: the head of the department that had sent military spies to places abroad, and his chief. The metadata for these conversations is in the hands of the research group. Bellingcat discovered the woman’s real name: Olga Kolopova, born in 1982.
However, it would be months before journalists got the latest evidence on the table. Those were, quite simply, the profile pictures the woman used on social media: Kolobova’s Whatsapp photos were so. same picture As on Maria Adela’s Facebook profile.
The full study can be read via Bellingcat. Kolobova currently lives in a new apartment in an upscale area of Moscow. It turns out that her line of luxury jewelry was a fake, just like the identity of the spy: she purchased the products via the Chinese web store AliExpress.
“Pop culture enthusiast. Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Analyst. Student. Explorer.”