The President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic instructed the Agency of military security of the country to launch an investigation into the alleged attempt of a Russian spy to recruit a senior Serbian official. November 17 in the YouTube video appeared of a meeting of two men in the Parking lot at the time of transfer of money. In the caption to the video says that the camera gets GRU Colonel George kleban, who until recently served as an assistant military attache of Russia in Belgrade. The name of his companion is not named, the man’s face is hidden.
In the video, the alleged Russian transfers “Serb agent” white bag from which he pulled a wad of money, and in return receives a red bag with unknown contents. The journalist Hristo Grozev, working with the investigative group is Bellingcat, wrote on Twitter that the identity Kleban confirmed using face recognition Microsoft Azure.
According to Grozev captured from different angles the video was probably part of the “well trained surveillance operation”. Who is the second person is unknown. Grozev said that also is not to say that the bag really was cash, as is present in the video installation. The video source is also unknown.
According to the newspaper Blic, the video was recorded in the municipality of Zemun, suburb of Belgrade. The Agency for security and information of Serbia has confirmed to a local TV channel RTS the authenticity of the video and the involvement Chlebana to Russian intelligence, noting that the establishment of all the circumstances involved both military and civil service.
The Politika publishing without a reference to the source reports that the scandalous video is a few years old, and the person alleged GRU officer allegedly conveyed the money does not belong to the Serbian security services. According to the newspaper, the video shows as “civilians exchanged business data.”
Judging by the archive of the foreign Ministry’s website, George kleban became assistant military attache in early 2016. Now he is not listed among the staff but, judging by the cached version of the site, 1 October kleban there still was listed. According Grozeva, kleban was in Serbia until July 2019, and his departure was sudden. In August the son of the Colonel, answering a question of the friends in Instagram, when he returns to Serbia, he replied: “Probably never.”
The Insider and Bellingact analyzed Kleban biography and found that although he was registered at the military Academy, as befits a military attaché, his wife was at the hostel of the special forces airborne. In the official biography of GRU officers working under diplomatic cover often and remove addresses, the issuing belonging to the security services. Probably forgot to do in relation to his wife Kleban, the newspaper writes.
Head of analytical Department of the Agency for security and information of Serbia April Zelski noted that the intelligence work in Serbia “should not only be associated” with Russia. “On the contrary, other powerful forces such as the US, UK and France and regional players, will remind you about Croatia and Albania, is very intense work for the benefit of their interests,” said Gelski.
The Minister of defence of Serbia Alexander Wulin called the situation serious, stressing that he sees it as an attempt to prevent Serbia to remain neutral in the military in the country. On 21 November, the Serbian President will meet with the Russian Ambassador. Vucic also convened a meeting as the Supreme commander, to inform the government about the results of the investigation. “We don’t have all the details, but if all proves true, this will be a serious problem for us,” shared the concerns of the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabic.