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Russian diplomat expelled from Norway after arrest made in spying case

Russian diplomat expelled from Norway after arrest made in spying case
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Norway announced Wednesday that it has expelled a Russian diplomat days after authorities made an arrest in a spying case they have linked to Moscow.

Siri Svendsen, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, said the official, who worked in the Russian Embassy's trade section, was given until the end of the week to leave the country.

"We have informed the Russian ambassador that an employee of the Russian embassy is undesirable as a diplomat and will be asked to leave Norway," she said, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

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Svendsen said the expelled Russian official had engaged in actions "not compatible with his status as a diplomat."

Officials in Norway announced the move after earlier this week arresting a Norwegian man who is accused of meeting a Russian intelligence officer in Oslo.

The Norwegian Police Security Service said Monday it suspected the Norwegian man had delivered information to a foreign country, later confirming it was Russia, AFP reported.

The now-expelled individual was reportedly with the Norwegian suspect when the latter was arrested at an Oslo restaurant Saturday.

The Norwegian man could face up to 15 years in prison if he is found guilty of espionage.

The Hill has reached out to the foreign ministry and the Russian Embassy in Oslo for comment.

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The Norwegian man, 50, worked at a company providing certificates for the insurance of shipping oil, gas and other resources.

He was identified in court documents as Harsharn Singh Tathgar, according to AFP, which reported that he informed investigators he had passed along information for "not insignificant sums in cash," insisting the information was harmless for the nation's interests.

A judge on Monday ordered him to be in custody for four weeks, with the first two spent in isolation.

The Norwegian Police Security Service released a warning about espionage in February, highlighting potential risks in political, financial and defense sectors.

The notice underscored Iran, China and Russia as potential threats for spying. 

Updated at noon.