Diplomatic niceties disappear with suspect

LOS ANGELES: The United States Ambassador to Cyprus held tense discussions with the country's President yesterday, after authorities managed to lose track of Christopher Metsos, the alleged paymaster of a Russian spy ring who was arrested on charges of international espionage earlier this week.

The Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias is said to have been at a loss to explain why a judge took the decision to grant bail to Metsos, 55, for the relatively paltry sum of €27,000 ($48,800).

His security forces are now facing international ridicule for having allowed the suspect to disappear. The US embassy in Nicosia barely concealed its frustration.

"As we had feared, having been given unnecessarily the chance to flee, Metsos did so," said spokesman James Ellickson-Brown after the ambassador's meeting, abandoning the usual diplomatic niceties.

Cypriot authorities were scouring airports, ports and yacht marinas on the Mediterranean island for the escapee.

Yesterday, the public got their first glimpse of Metsos. Cypriot police released a photo taken on Wednesday shortly after he was arrested at the airport about to board a flight to Hungary and before he was released on bail.

- INDEPENDENT

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