Italian military police informed on Wednesday about detaining a Russian diplomat and an Italian navy captain on suspicion of serious crimes relating to state security. “Carabinieri police intervened during a clandestine meeting between the two, caught immediately after the transfer of a document by the Italian officer in exchange for a sum of money,” said a police statement. “Both are accused of serious crimes tied to espionage and state security.” The unidentified suspects were arrested after their meeting on Tuesday night. Italian media reported that the exchange had taken place in a car park and involved €5,000 (£4,250; $5,900) in cash. Italy immediately summoned the Russian ambassador Sergey Razov and expelled two Russian officials believed to be involved in what Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio called an “extremely grave matter”. The Italian navy captain was taken into custody. Officials did not say whether the Russian army official who had met him was one of the two who were expelled. Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted a Russian lawmaker as saying Moscow would reciprocate for the expulsions, standard practice in such cases. However, according to Russian state news agency RIA, the Russian embassy said it hoped the incident would not affect bilateral relations with Italy.