Asia Singapore Senior Research Fellow with National Heart Centre Singapore pleads guilty to spying...

Senior Research Fellow with National Heart Centre Singapore pleads guilty to spying for Russia on USA

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The National Heart Centre Singapore has since fired the Senior Research Fellow.

 

A Senior Research Fellow with the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) has pleaded guilty in the United States of America (USA) for spying on USA under the direction of a Russian government official.

The Senior Research Fellow, Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, is a Mexican national and described as short and stocky. Fuentes, 36, lived a double life with two wives.

According to court documents, Fuentes acted under the direction and control of an individual he believed to be a Russian government official. Instructed by this Russian official, Fuentes, a Mexican citizen who has spent significant time in Russia, arranged for an intermediary to lease a unit in a specific residential building in Miami-Dade County, Florida, where a specified U.S. person, who had previously provided information about the Russian government to the U.S. government, resided.

Furthermore, at the direction of the same Russian official, Fuentes traveled to Miami in February 2020 to obtain the license plate number and parking location of the specified U.S. person’s car, and to provide this information to the Russian official upon his next trip to Russia.

Fuentes’s travel companion, at his request, took a photo of the specified U.S. person’s car. A WhatsApp message from Fuentes’s travel companion to Fuentes contained a close-up photograph of the specified U.S. person’s car. The manner in which Fuentes communicated with the Russian government official and his undertakings in this case are consistent with the tactics of the Russian intelligence services for spotting, assessing, recruiting and handling intelligence assets and sources.

Fuentes had not notified the U.S. Attorney General, as required by law, that he was acting in the United States as an agent of the Russian government.

Fuentes is scheduled to be sentenced on May 17, in Miami, and faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The US Department of Justice said the FBI and US Customs and Border Protection are investigating the case. A spokesman for NHCS told The Straits Times that it was alerted to the news in February 2020 and terminated Fuentes’ services that same month.

According to news reports from the US, Fuentes reached an agreement with the public prosecutor and pleaded guilty to the charges at a hearing held on 15 February in Miami. Cabrera Fuentes has been held in a prison in Florida since February 2020.

Fuentes had been held in a prison in Florida since February 2020. Up until his guilty plea, he had maintained his innocence, despite admitting that he had been contacted by the Russian government about following and collecting information about an FBI agent.

In a nomination letter to a heart research committee, Fuentes describes himself as a 34-year-old born in Oaxaca, Mexico. It says he’s a visiting scientist at Duke-NUS’s Graduate Medical School, which lists him as an assistant professor in its Cardiovascular Sciences Academic Clinical Programme.

According to Fuentes LinkedIn page, Fuentes is the President of Mexican Global Network in Singapore since 2016.

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