The recordings “make clear” that the men “were operating as SVR officers by receiving taskings from Moscow, gathering responsive information and sending it back to SVR headquarters,” the court documents say.
Two of the agents recorded were Victor Podobnyy and Igor Sporyshev, the documents say.
It’s not like in the movies
Podobnyy and Sporyshev were suspects in the ring associated with Buryakov, but left the United States and had diplomatic immunity because they were working for the Russian government. Buryakov, however, was here as a private citizen, operating under what officials call “non-official cover.”
The audio recordings caught moments in which some of the men were not impressed with their work for the intelligence agency, envisioning that it would be a bit more Hollywood, the court documents reveal.
Podobnyy thought the work “would be just slightly more down to earth than in the movies about James Bond,” like using a false identity, the court documents say.
Sporyshev agreed, saying that he thought he would travel abroad with a “different passport.”
The recordings also suggest that this wasn’t Buryakov’s first stint as an intelligence officer, the prosecutors allege.
Podobnyy was recorded telling Sporyshev that Buryakov had been in South Africa under what the prosecutors say was “non-official cover between approximately 2004 and 2009.”
Buryakov’s lawyer did not immediately return CNN’s request for comment Thursday.
He is due in Manhattan federal court on April 4.