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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June, 2007


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    Drawing upon KGB files, Mitrokhin presents a profile of Marcel Laufer “Ref,” a Uruguayan citizen of Jewish ancestry and a special agent of the KGB.
    "The Ref Case. Folder 68. The Chekist Anthology.," June, 2007, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Contributed to CWIHP by Vasili Mitrokhin.
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Drawing upon KGB files, Mitrokhin presents a profile of Marcel Laufer "Ref," a Uruguayan citizen of Jewish ancestry and a special agent of the KGB. Ref was recruited to work in the KGB by Arismendi, the Secretary of the Uruguayan Branch of the KGB. The document asserts that Ref underwent special training in the USSR, and was sent to France in August of 1970.

The Mitrokhin account states that Ref was given 4,000 rubles to work in France and pose as the owner of a trading firm along with Andre Michel. Mitrokhin states that the KGB had established a monthly stipend of $400 which covered Ref's living costs and job-related expenses. According to Mitrokhin's notes on the KGB entries, Ref was blamed by the KGB for not contributing enough to the agency. To increase his productivity, the KGB conducted a disciplinary program in which Ref was taught the importance of fulfilling agency responsibilities. The document mentions that according to Arismendi, Ref was filled with a resolute sense of duty after undergoing the teachings of the program. Ref asserted that he was ready to commit himself to his KGB assignments, and would continue to adhere to communist ideologies. Ref was subsequently sent back to the USSR on multiple occasions to be trained by the KGB.

Mitrokhin's account of the KGB document mentions that Ref's trading firm dealt in leather goods. Ref's partner, Andre Michel, was of Georgian descent and had been a dealer in leather apparel. In 1978, Ref was granted a ten-year visa to live in France as a "privileged" citizen. However, the file asserts that the KGB believed that Ref continued to treat his official duties with indifference. None of Ref's operations yielded notable results due to the fact that Ref often created a false aura of danger around his work in order to continue to arouse the curiosity of the KGB. As a result, Mitrokhin relates that the KGB believed that Ref's position within the agency did not warrant the 7,000 French francs the KGB paid him on a monthly basis to cover automobile costs and personal expenditures. Accordingly, ties between Ref and the KGB were duly terminated. Arismendi was notified about Ref's departure from the KGB in 1980.


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