Case of accused spy for Russia heads to court today


OTTAWA — Lawyers for a woman accused of espionage will try to persuade a judge today she did not spy for Russia.

Elena Crenna is asking the Federal Court in Ottawa to reverse an immigration adjudicator’s decision to bar her from Canada over events that unfolded a quarter-century ago.

The tale began in 1994 when Canadian David Crenna hired Elena — whom he would later marry — as an interpreter and public-relations representative on a humanitarian housing project in Tver, Russia.

An agent from a Russian security agency contacted her to ask questions about the project and David gave her permission to speak with him in the interest of being transparent and forthcoming.

Immigration officials gave Elena the go-ahead to live in Canada in 2018, but the federal government successfully appealed the decision last year on grounds her meetings with the Russian agent amounted to espionage.

Elena Crenna has left Canada while the legal proceedings play out but her husband plans to attend court today.