The place is charming, but Aleksandr Okulov is not in the mood. He doesn’t see the masses of palm trees and bougainvillea that line the terrace of Four Seasons Hotel Jumeirah Beach, one of Dubai’s many palaces, nor, beyond the greenery, the verdant waters of the Persian Gulf that wash the beach and private islands.
Unlike other customers who enjoy the view and their cocktails, the Moldovan businessman is not in the Emirates by choice, but by necessity: in Chisinau, the capital of his country where he lived until ‘the spring of 2022, he has become persona non grata. On April 20, the US Treasury Department formally placed him under sentence for the offense “It facilitated the circumvention of the measures taken by the United States and its partners against Russia.” After the invasion of Ukraine in February.
An eloquent sentence that conceals an operation of a very different nature: before he could be punished, Okolov was actively approached and threatened, not by American intelligence services, but by their French counterparts. Needing sources in Moscow, the tricolor spies wanted to make the Moldovan businessman “deep throat” in circles close to the Kremlin. Recruitment mission as seen in the Bureau of Legends.
“There’s not much we can do for you.”
Recounting what happened to him, Okulov recalls that the punishments were a real crushing blow: they were barely carried out.
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