March 24, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Maria Tsalla: Husband of Russian spy gave false information – recalled in Russia

Greek intelligence services have thrown a new piece of information into the media about Irina Alexandrovna Smireva, an alleged Russian spy, telling the version of why she left Greece.

New facts are revealed about the alleged spy Irina Smireva and her entourage, writes the pro-government Greek publication Kathimerini, referring to employees of the National Intelligence Service – ΕΥΠ.

According to information received by the editorial office of “K”, Smireva’s husband (as the national intelligence service calls a woman who lived in Greece under the name Maria Tsalla), stated false information, calling himself the fictitious name of Daniel Campos and allegedly having dual citizenship – Brazil and Austria. In fact, in ΕΥΠ they believe that he is Russian, who was also recalled to his homeland. “Maria Zalla” became worried and declared him missing. The Russian worked as a spy in Brazil.

Irena Smireva and her secret life in Pagrati
A computer found in an apartment on Arrianou Street in Pagrati and the trips she made between Greece and Russia in the period before her true identity was revealed may shed light on the secret activities of Russian Irina Smireva in Greece.

The woman with the fake name “Maria Tsalla” was acting as a spy for Russia, traces of her discovery were found in Greece as early as 2018, according to relevant government officials. However, the same sources of information note that no contacts have been established with officials of the Russian embassy in Athens.

The couple reportedly returned to Russia in January. For the National Intelligence Service, things began to unfold at the beginning of the year, when it became aware of the suspicious role of “Maria Zalla”.

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At the registry office of Amarusiou

An investigation carried out at the Amarousiou registry office found that unknown persons removed the pages from the file and replaced them with others, which, however, were written in the same handwriting. “There was a discrepancy between the paper and electronic file,” a competent source in the intelligence service told K.

ΕΥΠ employees, with the help of Western intelligence agencies, identified the mysterious woman, establishing that she was a Russian citizen under the name Irina Alexandrovna Smireva, and also established that she had originally arrived in Greece on a fake passport from a Latin American country and that in 2018 she presented a birth certificate with data that matched a “stillborn baby” with a date of birth and death of December 1991. Subsequently, Maria Tsalla or Irina was registered in the municipality of Aliveri.


A small shop for needlework and knitting in the Pagrati metropolitan area called “Galazio” at 4 Arrianou Street was a place that “Maria Tsalla” kept as a front. According to the intelligence services, Smireva hastily left for Russia in January last year, leaving her personal belongings behind.

Information from “K” says that after her departure, she contacted her landlord (to whom she paid rent) and one of her employees, “Katerina”. Citing health reasons, she informed them that she would not return to Greece.

An employee and a man she had an affair with in Athens said they were completely unaware of her real identity. Maria Zalla was fluent in Greek.

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What did she tell her friends
However, people who knew her claim that when she arrived in Athens, she did not speak Greek at all. She even went to a specialized school where they teach this language to foreigners in the center of Athens. There she made friends in an attempt to expand her social circle.

She told her new friends that she sold all her property in Brazil and came to Athens for permanent residence. She first took up photography. When she arrived in Athens, she first stayed at the luxurious Airbnb in Pagrati and did not seem to have any financial difficulties.

According to K, she made a number of friendly contacts in Pagrati and other places, but – as the source said on condition of anonymity – she rarely “looked into your eyes, she did not seem like a straightforward person, as if she wanted to remain unnoticed.”

After a few months she spoke broken Greek and mostly English, but it didn’t take long for her to learn Greek well.

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Professionally, she first opened an online shop selling knitting goods and then a real shop which she called “Galazio” (needlework and knitting shop) at 4 Arrianou Street in Pagrati.

In early January 2023, she told friends that she was leaving for a three-week vacation, and even closed her store. After that, some of her acquaintances searched for her, as her traces disappeared.

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