Consultant with Russian ties deemed ‘national security threat’

02 March 2023 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read
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A consultant with Russian ties has had her visa canceled on national security grounds after arriving in Adelaide in late 2020 – after which she spent time working as a manager in Deloitte’s space practice.

A former Deloitte employee with ties to Russia has been booted from Australia after being deemed a potential national security threat.

Marina Sologub, who according to her LinkedIn profile spent the majority of 2021 working as a manager in Deloitte’s space practice in Adelaide after arriving from Ireland in late 2020, has had her distinguished talent visa canceled by the federal government after reportedly receiving advice from spy agency ASIO.

Marina Sologub

However, a Deloitte source has already cast doubt on some elements of Sologub’s story. Speaking with the Sydney Morning Herald, the source said that Sologub had only spent twelve weeks at the consulting firm (contrary to the March 2021 – September 2021 entry on her LinkedIn profile) after undergoing employment screening and criminal checks, and had no contact with any Deloitte clients including government agencies during that time.

Another source described as having ‘deep knowledge’ of Sologub’s activities told the Herald that she had consistently made contact attempts with officials at the state and federal levels, including at Australia’s national space agency and via the city’s burgeoning space tech business community. According to the paper, one former senior defence department official now working in the sector admitted to having had frequent contact.

While no specific espionage or other nefarious activities have been publicly alleged (the Herald states that ASIO director-general Mike Burgess assessed that Sologub could “potentially pose a direct or indirect threat”), her most recent position on departing Deloitte has been as a procurement advisor with the Marion city council – so it’s expected that her repeated attempts at making contact with officials occurred earlier, while she was still in the industry.

The Deloitte source shed no light on the circumstances of Sologub’s departure from its space practice after just twelve weeks, or if contact with related ‘non-clients’ was part of her duties. According to her LinkedIn bio, Sologub performed a range of tasks while at the firm, including the creation of the marketing strategy, communications plan and operation procedures for its marketing team, and co-writing a consultation submission for the Australian Space Agency.

Her visa cancellation has also sparked concern in Ireland, where she previously served as a personal assistant to a former member of parliament. According to various sources, Sologub was born in Kazakhstan before growing up in Cork and later earning a masters in government studies at Cork College University. Following her period in the political sector and a one-year gap on her CV, Sologub then served as head of business development for Ireland’s national space centre.

It was during her six years with the space centre that Sologub, who speaks fluent Russian, claims her greatest professional achievement was being responsible for “the development of an intergovernmental agreement between Ireland and Russia on the use of space for civil purposes,” according to documents cited by the Herald. She then states that, as such, she has direct access to key decision-makers in both government departments.

Sologub’s visa cancellation follows immediately the news that ASIO had in recent times disrupted a major Russian spy-ring, with a highly active ‘hive’ of agents posing as diplomats while looking to recruit Australians with access to classified information.

It was also revealed last year that unmasked Russian agent Sergey Cherkasov had used Ireland as a stepping point to build up a Brazilian identity, which he used to gain access to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.