Cherkasov was arrested by Dutch authorities in April for using forged identity papers. In the Netherlands, he had posed as a Brazilian named Viktor Muller Ferreira, who wanted to take up a position at the International Criminal Court (ICC). However, investigations by the Dutch police revealed that he is not Brazilian and worked for the Russian military intelligence service GRU.
According to the US judiciary, Cherkasov has built up a different identity over the years. From 2018 to 2020 he completed a master's degree in international relations at Johns Hopkins University in Washington. Had he actually been able to take up the post at the ICC, the US judiciary said he could have gathered "highly valuable" information on the investigation of war crimes in Ukraine or even influenced procedural decisions of the Hague tribunal.
In April 2022, Cherkasov was extradited from the Netherlands to Brazil, where he faced charges of identity fraud. In July he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. In September, however, Russia requested his extradition from Brazil because he was to be tried there for drug trafficking in the years 2011 to 2013.
The US judiciary accuses the Russian of having collected information about US citizens during his studies and passed it on to his liaison officers. He is also charged with bank and visa fraud and other crimes in the United States.
She did not say whether or when the US judiciary intends to apply to Brazil for Cherkasov's extradition. But prosecutor Matthew Graves said: "If foreign adversaries like Russia send undercover forces to the US, we will find them and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law."