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Cypriot Police Search for Missing Suspected Russian Spy

Police in Cyprus are searching for one of the 11 suspects accused by the United States of spying for Russia.

Police say 54-year-old Christopher Robert Metsos failed to appear at a police station in the city of Larnaca Wednesday. Metsos was expected there after Cypriot authorities had granted him bail until his extradition hearing on July 29.

Metsos was the 11th suspect named after U.S. authorities announced the arrests of 10 people accused of carrying out long-term, deep-cover assignments in the United States for the Russian foreign intelligence service, the SVR.

He was arrested at Larnaca airport early Tuesday as he attempted to leave the island with a one-way ticket to Hungary.

Metsos's disappearance is a huge embarrassment for Cypriot authorities who have already been criticized for setting him free on bail.

There has also been a public outcry over the way the matter was handled.

(Man): "It is basically a weakness of the authorities really, they have to be more careful and "thinkful" in these kind of matters."
(Man 2): "If you leave somebody like this, obviously he will try to disappear ... yes?"

Minister of Justice Loucas Louca called the court decision to grant bail "wrong". Even police officials were surprised Metsos had been set free.

Louca told reporters there are certain indications as to where the suspect is now, but refused to elaborate.

The judge, Christos Philippou, has been widely condemned for making what some commentators describe as a "naive decision."

Metsos was staying alone at a low-budget apartment complex in the coastal resort of Larnaca. Police said they have no indication he has left the island or crossed over into its breakaway northern Turkish sector.

Authorities could face problems if Metsos has slipped into the north.

There is neither an extradition treaty nor formal diplomatic ties with the breakaway state, but a working relationship has been forged that has resulted in a number of criminal suspects being deported in the past.