Swiss police believe they discovered two Russian spies who had posed as plumbers in an attempt to bug world leaders in Davos, Switzerland, this week for the World Economic Forum.
Police found two men staying in the upscale resort town in August after they aroused suspicion by visiting for an unusually long time, according to the Financial Times.
Swiss officials concluded that the pair were Russian spies employed by the Kremlin to record and tap into conversations at the annual forum, the Financial Times reported. It based much of its report on a more detailed story in the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper of Zurich.
The two men claimed to have diplomatic protection but did not indicate registration with official Swiss authorities.
A spokesperson for the Russian embassy in Switzerland, Stanislav Smirnov, said that there had been no communication from Swiss officials on the matter and that the account was "one more attempt to undermine Swiss-Russian relations," according to CNBC.
"The story goes, as far as I understand it, is that police wanted to check documents of men who they thought were suspicious. They were released, but still observed. The police did not see anything suspicious and the men just left," Smirnov told CNBC.
Connections between Switzerland and Russia have a history involving previous spying allegations. The Russian ambassador in Bern rejected claims by Swiss media that one in four Russian diplomats in the country was a spy after a prior report of two Russian spies' attempts to hack into a Swiss laboratory in 2018.
This year's World Economic Forum includes guests such as President TrumpDonald TrumpOmar, Muslim Democrats decry Islamophobia amid death threats On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Trump cheers CNN's Cuomo suspension MORE, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is also in attendance.