Mikhail Semenko, an alleged Russian spy who was arrested by the FBI, worked for Travel All Russia, an Arlington, VA agency who specializes in the Russian travel market. A spokesman for the agency told Travel Agent that they were shocked by the arrest and that Semenko had been a good employee. The agency is a member of ASTA and holds an IATA appointment.
The New Jersey Star-Ledger said that Semenko is a 28-year-old Seton Hall graduate who authorities say was a budding Russian spy. He is one of 11 arrested in the Russian spy network.
The Star-Ledger said he told friends of growing up in Russia and teaching English at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China. Semenko was fluent in Russian, Mandarin, English and Spanish and was a graduate of Seton Hall University.
After graduating in 2008, Semenko worked for six months at a nonprofit business research group, before landing a job at Travel All Russia, where he sold custom tours to English, Spanish and Chinese-speaking clients.
Semenko was arrested by the FBI in one of the largest espionage takedowns in recent U.S. history. He is said to have been active on Facebook and blogged about the Chinese economy.
The alleged spy network was part of an 11-member team of Russian agents trying to embed themselves into the highest levels of American business and government.
Like the other suspects, Semenko is charged with conspiring to illegally act as an agent of a foreign government, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Semenko is in federal custody pending bail hearings.
Travel All Russia has offices in London, Moscow and St Petersburg. Services include private tours and Russian river cruises. Visit www.TravelAllRussia.com.