In the 1970s, Russia attempted to steal statistical data from the Central Bank of Kenya but the attempt was foiled by Kenya’s Special Branch, the modern day National Intelligence Service (NIS).
According to reports, Yuri Loginov, the spy, worked for both KGB, the Russian spy arm, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
He was sent to Kenya collect intel for CIA but Americans didn’t know he was planted on them by Russia.
Yuri entered Kenya using a falsified passport belonging to a Canadian citizen and when the Special Branch learned of his presence in Nairobi, they alerted the then Home Affairs Minister Daniel Moi.
His arrival coincided with the tenure of Nicolai Petrov, the Soviet ambassador in Kenya who was later expelled by Moi for espionage.
In an address in Parliament, Moi refused to reveal details of the ongoing investigation into the spies.
“Members will appreciate that it would not be in the interests of our country for me to reveal in detail the results of these investigations since the work of counter-espionage is something which goes on even with the departure of those who we come to notice and against whom we can take no action on account of the privileged position they enjoy by virtue of their diplomatic status,” stated Moi.
The operation went on as planned without knowing that the agents had already been unmasked by officers.
In those days, the data was held in voluminous books and a CBK official had agreed to deliver one of those books to the spy at a parking lot in Nairobi.
Armed with metal bars, the Special Branch agents pounced on him shortly after he had the documents, roughed him up, and broke his legs.
Those who witnessed the commotion thought it was an ordinary attack on a tourist by Nairobi thugs.
The agents then walked back to their office and handed the document to James Kanyotu, then head of the Special Branch.
The spy was whisked away by a Soviet embassy vehicle and flown out of the country the same day.