Ten Russian agents and four individuals who allegedly conspired with Western intelligence agencies were successfully exchanged in Vienna Friday morning, but one of the players in the Cold War-tinged spy saga is still at large.
The eleventh Russian agent, identified as Christopher Robert Metsos, was the alleged paymaster of the spy ring. He was last seen in Cyprus, where he had been visiting under a false Canadian passport. On June 29, Metsos was arrested in Cyprus while trying to board a flight at the Larnaca airport, located on the southern coast, to Budapest, Hungary with a female companion.
Metsos, or another party, paid $33,000 for release on bail and he handed over his passport. The judge ordered him show up at the police station in Larnaca daily until his extradition hearings began. Metsos disappeared the following day. Ten days later the Russian spy's whereabouts and real identity appear are still a mystery.
Metsos' case is still pending, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. He is charged with conspiring to act as a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Remaining charges, such as money laundering, against the ten Russian agents, who pleaded guilty to acting as unlawful agents within the U.S. on behalf of the Russian Federation, have been dismissed.
It has been speculated that Metsos escaped the island via the Turkish-occupied northern part of the fractured country, which doesn't have formal extradition treaties. At this point Metsos could already be in Russia, sipping vodka by the Black Sea instead of Larnaca and reflecting on his life undercover, but U.S. and Russian authorities are not talking. Given the quick resolution to the spy affair engineered by the U.S. and Russia, it appears that both countries would rather the entire episode fade away, along with the mysterious eleventh spy.