Ex-Estonian spy chief charged with piracy

AP News
Posted: Jan 13, 2012 12:18 PM
Ex-Estonian spy chief charged with piracy

Russia has charged a former Estonian foreign intelligence chief with hijacking a Russian freighter in 2009.

Russia's top investigative body said Friday that Eerik-Niiles Kross organized the takeover of the Arctic Sea vessel in July 2009 after it left a Finnish port for Algeria carrying timber.

Russia says the ship was hijacked in the Baltic Sea, that its navy seized it weeks later off Cape Verde and that the eight hijackers have been tried and convicted.

Speculation has persisted, however, that the ship was actually carrying Russian S-300 surface-to-air missiles for Iran or Syria.

Kross told Estonian newspaper Postimees the charges against him are "absurd," and Estonian Justice Minister Kristen Michal was quoted by Itar Tass news agency as saying Kross won't be extradited.