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Banker who worked as Russian secret agent to be released early, deported

A man sentenced in May 2016 to 30 months in federal prison for conspiring to act as a secret agent for Russia will receive early release on Saturday and will then be deported, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has spokesman confirmed to CBS News.

Federal Bureau of Prisons documents obtained by CBS News cite good behavior in the agency’s decision to grant early release to Evgeny Buryakov, who collected intelligence for Russia while working for a Russian bank in New York City. 

A spokesman for ICE confirmed that the agency will take custody of Buryakov on Saturday upon his release.

“He will be transferred to ICE custody upon release from Elkton,” said Khaalid Walls, ICE’s Northeast Regional Director of Communications. “Travel arrangements will be finalized in the very near term…but for operational security reasons, we do not confirm removal dates prior to a person’s departure.”

The Bureau of Prisons declined a request for comment.

Buryakov worked at the New York office of Vnesheconombank, a Russian government-owned bank, before he was arrested in January 2014 and accused of being part of a spy ring that collected intelligence for the S.V.R., Russia’s foreign intelligence agency. Buryakov and two Russians with diplomatic immunity were recorded by the FBI allegedly conspiring to gather economic intelligence and recruit sources in New York City.

Buryakov was arrested at his home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, a few blocks from the Russian Embassy Residences, on Jan. 26, 2015. Prosecutors later said an FBI agent posing as an analyst for an energy firm had given Buryakov binders of industry analysis within which were “covertly placed recording devices.”

Russia and Vnesheconombank denied that Buryakov and the bank were involved in espionage, but Vnesheconombank later paid $45,000 as settlement in a lawsuit filed by Buryakov’s landlords. The Bronx homeowners claimed that after Buryakov’s arrest, one of his associates came to his home and did tens of thousands in damage, tearing up walls and furniture. Vnesheconombank did not admit to wrongdoing when settling the case.

Vnesheconombank made headlines earlier this week when it confirmed to Reuters that in 2016 its representatives met with then candidate Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is now senior advisor to the President. Senate investigators plan to question Kushner about the meetings as part of a probe into Russian meddling in the presidential election.

Requests for comment to Vnesheconombank and Buryakov’s attorneys were not immediately returned.

Buryakov entered a guilty plea in March 2016, and was sentenced two months later. As part of the plea deal, he agreed to be deported following his release. Including time served before his 30-month sentence was imposed by a judge in Manhattan’s federal court, Buryakov has been incarcerated for about 26 months. Originally, July 27 was scheduled to be his date of release from the low-security Federal Correctional Institution in Elkton, Ohio.

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