An Italian naval officer was arrested in the middle of meeting a Russian official to hand over secret documents, officials say

rome colisseum night
People wearing protective face masks take pictures in front of the Colosseum in Rome. Not related to this story.

  • Italian police say a naval officer was arrested while meeting with a Russian agent to hand over secret documents.
  • The two are suspected of “serious crimes tied to spying and state security,” police said.
  • Italian media reported that the trove included secret NATO documents.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

An Italian naval officer was arrested while meeting with a Russian officer to hand him secret documents, police said, according to the BBC.

Police also said that they arrested the Russian diplomat, Reuters reported, and that the two individuals, who were not identified, were accused of “serious crimes tied to spying and state security,” according to Reuters.

The Italian regional newspaper Testata Giornalistica Regionale reported that the Italian officer was passing secret NATO documents to the Russian.

A police statement said the two were caught in Rome “during a clandestine meeting between the two, caught immediately after the transfer of a document by the Italian officer in exchange for a sum of money,” the BBC reported.

Italian special operations swooped in on the Tuesday night meeting in Rome, police said, according to the BBC.

Italy’s foreign ministry said it had summoned Russian ambassador Sergey Razov, according to Reuters.

The naval officer has been taken into custody, Reuters reported.

But the Russian diplomat has not yet been because of their status, and police are considering what actions to take, per Reuters.

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Elon Musk said Tesla vehicles are not spying on Chinese officials and that the company would be shut down if they were

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends via video link a session at the China Development Forum.

CEO Elon Musk on Saturday said Tesla would be “shut down” if it used cameras and other technology in its electric vehicles to spy on Chinese officials, according to Reuters.

“There’s a very strong incentive for us to be very confidential with any information,” Musk said on Saturday, speaking via video at the China Development Forum, an annual conference.

He added: “If Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, we will get shut down.”

On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese officials had moved to limit its military and state staffers from driving Teslas. Chinese officials were reportedly concerned about the presence of cameras in the vehicles, which could potentially be used to spy on officials.

Reuters on Friday reported that Tesla vehicles had been altogether banned from Chinese military locations.

Chinese officials raised concern about Tesla following a February investigation by the country’s State Administration for Market Regulation, Nikkei Asia reported.

The investigation had focused on rapid acceleration, battery fires, and other safety concerns, according to the report. Regulators also sought information about whether Chinese user data collected by Tesla was removed from the country, according to Nikkei Asia.

On Saturday, Musk said there would be “negative effects” for Tesla if it was spying, according to The Wall Street Journal. “Whether it’s Chinese or US, the negative effects if a commercial company did engage in spying-the negative effects for that company would be extremely bad,” he said.

Musk’s comments came as tensions rose between the two countries, with President Joe Biden’s administration taking a hardline approach to US-China relations.

In Biden’s first official call with President Xi Jinping, the American president underscored his concerns about “coercive and unfair economic practices,” according to the White House’s official readout of the call.

Biden’s call came a few days after the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, called on China to end “abuses of the international system.”

At talks in Alaska on Thursday, Blinken had a heated exchange with China’s top diplomat.

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