The ministry, in a joint statement with the Israeli military, said
Lederman represented both the Defense Ministry and military in Russia. The
statement said Israel investigated the Russian spy claims and found them
"Security authorities in Israel completed a thorough investigation and
concluded that these claims were unfounded," the ministry said.
Israeli media reports said Leiderman, preparing to return to Israel in
July, was arrested on May 12 in a Moscow restaurant when he was dining
with his family. The reports said Russian intelligence agents conducted a
strip search in the restaurant in front of patrons. He was then arrested.
The announcement marked the first time in nearly 20 years that Russia
to have arrested an Israeli diplomat on espionage. Over the last year,
officials reported tension between Israel and Russia over allegations of
spying in both countries.
"The military attache and Defense Ministry representative in Russia,
Col. Vadim Leiderman, was last week surprisingly detained for questioning by
the Russian authorities on claims of espionage, following the questioning he
was given 48 hours to leave Russia," the official statement said.
Leiderman, fluent in Russian, has been an air force officer with a
doctorate at Israel's Technion. His arrest, which officials said violated
Leiderman's diplomatic immunity, took place during a visit to Moscow by a
delegation from the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Officials said Russia has been supplying a range of missiles and other
systems that have been deployed by the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah and
Hamas. Moscow was said to have examined the equipment, including the AT-14
Kornet fired by Hamas in 2011, and asserted that the missile was a copy.