One of the Russian men accused by Dutch security services of trying to hack into a chemical weapons watchdog participated in a Moscow football league as part of what was colloquially known as the “security service team,” a former teammate told The Moscow Times.
Yevgeny Serebryakov was one of four men identified by Dutch authorities on Thursday as having been involved in an attempt to infiltrate the network of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Hague.
He is also listed on the website of a Moscow Amateur Football League (LFL) as having been a member of the “Radiks” team from 2011 to 2013.
The Moscow Times managed to track down a current team member, Yan Yershov, 25, who in a phone conversation confirmed Serebryakov had played for the team.
“Yes he played for us for a few years and was a decent player,” Yershov said. “It was widely known that he was one of those guys, some sort of government agent.”
Serebryakov, he added, wasn’t the only player in the “Radiks” team with links to the security services.
“Our team is known as the ‘security services’ team,’” Yershov said. “Almost everyone works for an intelligence agency.”
“I personally don’t,” he added.
“Many of the players don’t really talk about what they do even among themselves in the dressing room.”
While Yershov hasn’t seen Serebryakov for around a year, the two still frequently communicate over the messaging service WhatsApp, he said. “He still sends us encouragement texts from time to time.”
Upon hearing the accusations against Serebryakov, Yershov said: “I’m shocked to hear he was involved in this. He was a normal guy, nothing crazy.”