According to the report from Financial Times, Swiss police was able to uncover a spy mission planned by a group of Russians who disguised themselves as plumbers in Davos where the annual World Economic Forum took place.
Officials from Graubünden cantonal police department said that authorities were able to trace two men with Russian diplomatic passports during a routine identity check-in August 2019 after it was found out that the couple stayed for a long time at a high-end ski resort. At that point the men traced were not identified as plumbers. While police found no criminal records there was no connection between them and their visit to the upcoming forum.
According to Reuters, after their passports were checked by the Swiss officials the two men have supposedly left the country. According to Zürich’s Tages-Anzeiger newspaper, the police suspected that these men were actually Russian intelligence agents who were under Kremlin to spy on elite officials during the World Economic Forum.
The officials claim that they suspect these men to be a start of a larger spy ring posing as workers and helpers to install recording devices in and around Davos. But, it remains unclear what made the police believe that the men were spies.
On the other hand, CNBC reports that Stanislav Smirnov who is a representative for the Russian embassy in Switzerland said that such suspicion of Russian diplomats being spies was another attempt to undermine Swiss-Russian relations. His version of the story claims to be that police thought that these Russian men were suspicious and wanted to check their documents. Though they were released, tabs were kept on them and then the men left while the police found nothing suspicious.
In addition to that, another spokesperson from Russian embassy tells Reuters that diplomatic passports are only handed out to people with high-ranks and that it is a “dumb joke” that manual labourers would be even allowed to have such documents.