Russian pleads guilty to conspiring to work as a spy

Court documents show that Evgeny Buryakov, seen here in a court sketch, began meeting with an undercover FBI agent who he believed to be an energy company analyst in 2012.

Story highlights

  • Evgeny Buryakov pleads guilty to conspiring to act as an unregistered Russian agent
  • An undercover FBI agent gave him bugged binders, and hours of conversations were recorded
  • Buryakov will be sentenced on May 25

(CNN)A man faces at least five years in prison after pleading guilty Friday to conspiring to act as an unregistered Russian agent, according to federal prosecutors.

Evgeny Buryakov, 41, who posed as an employee in the Manhattan office of a Russian bank, Vnesheconombank, was arrested in January 2015.
He was an agent working under unofficial cover, the U.S. Justice Department said, meaning that "he entered and remained in the United States as a private citizen." Buryakov was accused of gathering "intelligence on the streets of New York City, trading coded messages with Russian spies who send the clandestinely collected information" to his country's foreign intelligence agency, SVR, according to a statement from Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York.
    "More than two decades after the end of the Cold War, Russian spies still seek to operate in our midst under the cover of secrecy," Bharara said.