NEW YORK – A Russian secret agent sent home in a highly publicized spy swap wants to leave the country and return with his wife to her native Peru, while continuing to live under the false name he used for 34 years, the man's attorney said.
An American lawyer for the man formerly known as Juan Lazaro told the Wall Street Journal in Saturday's editions that her client "wants to be where his wife is going."
His wife, Vicky Pelaez, is a Peruvian-born former columnist for the Spanish-language New York City newspaper El Diario/La Prensa.
"He says he's Juan Lazaro and he's not from Russia and doesn't speak Russian," said the attorney, Genesis Peduto. She said it will be easier for the couple's son, Juan Jr., who is in New York, to visit them in Peru, where Pelaez has said she wants to return.
Lazaro's Russian name is Mikhail Vasenkov. But for decades, he had claimed he was born in Uruguay as Juan Lazaro before moving to Peru, where he met Pelaez.
The couple moved in the late 1980s to the U.S., where they ultimately settled in the suburb of Yonkers, north of New York City.
They were arrested in June along with eight other people and accused of being Russian spies. In July, in the biggest spy swap since the Cold War, all 10 were deported in exchange for four people convicted of betraying Moscow.
Information from: WALL ST. JOURNAL