According to Russian state-owned media, the Brazilian Supreme Court is now considering to extradite Russian GRU officer Sergey Cherkasov to the United States. Cherkasov was sentenced to 15 years in Brazil in 2022 for using a forged Brazilian government-issued document.
He was originally arrested by Dutch authorities in April 2022 after he flew to the Netherlands to take up a position at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He was detained at Schipol airport by Dutch immigration officials and returned to Brazil. He was reportedly discovered due to having an almost identical passport number to other GRU agents discovered in a 2018 poisoning case.
However, in March 2023, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation charged Cherkasov for acting as an illegal agent of the Russian government, in absentia. The charge reads below:
“Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov (“Cherkasov”), 37, a national of the Russian Federation who operated as an “Illegal” agent for a Russian Intelligence Service (“RIS”) under the Brazilian alias of Victor Muller Ferreira, was charged today for acting as an agent of a foreign power, visa fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, and other charges stemming from his illegal activities in the United States. Cherkasov started acting as an Illegal agent in 2012 in Brazil using the Ferreira name, and he moved to the United States in 2018 after obtaining admission to a graduate school program at a University 1, a university located in the District of Columbia. Cherkasov is currently incarcerated in Brazil on fraud charges.”
However, this case is not cut and dry for the Brazilian Supreme Court because the Russian Federation has already requested extradition to prosecute him for drug trafficking charges. The Brazilian Supreme Court doubts these claims and suspects the Russian government is simply trying to retrieve their man.
As a member of BRICS, Brazil has much incentive to cooperate with Moscow as opposed to Washington, which President Lula has already snubbed this year by allowing Iranian ships to make a port call in Rio.
The decision the Supreme Court reaches will undoubtedly have strategic geopolitical impacts.