NEW YORK — A Russian secret agent sent home in last month's spy swap wants to leave Russia and return with his wife to her native Peru, while continuing to live under the false name he used for 34 years, the man's attorney said.
An American lawyer for the man formerly known as Juan Lazaro told The Wall Street Journal in Saturday's edition that her client "wants to be where his wife is going."
His wife, Vicky Pelaez, is a Peruvian-born former columnist for the Spanish-language New York newspaper El Diario La Prensa.
"He says he's Juan Lazaro and he's not from Russia and doesn't speak Russian," said the attorney, Genesis Peduto.
She said it would be easier for the couple's son, Juan Jr., who is in New York, to visit them in Peru, where Pelaez has said she wants to return.
Lazaro's Russian name is Mikhail Vasenkov. But for decades, he had claimed that he was born in Uruguay as Juan Lazaro before moving to Peru, where he met Pelaez.
The couple moved in the late 1980s to the United States, where they ultimately settled in the suburb of Yonkers, north of New York.
They were arrested in June along with eight other people and accused of being Russian spies. In July, in the biggest spy swap since the Cold War, all 10 were deported in exchange for four people convicted of betraying Moscow.