U.S. embassy in Moscow hires security firm of former Russian spy who worked with Putin

The Telegraph reports: The US embassy in Moscow is to be guarded by a company owned by a former head of KGB counter-intelligence who worked with British double agent Kim Philby and young Vladimir Putin, after cuts to US staff demanded by Russia.

Elite Security Holdings was awarded a $2.83 million contract to provide “local guard services for US mission Russia,” which includes the Moscow embassy and consulates in St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, according to a post on a US state procurement website.

The contract and background of the firm came to light in a Kommersant newspaper report on Friday.

Elite Security, a private company and the oldest part of the eponymous holding, was founded in 1997 by Viktor Budanov and his son Dmitry, according to a Russian business registry.

A 2002 article posted on the site of Russia’s foreign intelligence service identified Mr Budanov as a major general in the agency who became a Soviet spy in 1966 and retired a year after the collapse of the USSR.

His long work in Soviet and Russian intelligence could raise questions about whether the guard services contract poses a security or intelligence risk to the US mission. [Continue reading…]

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