A beautiful jewelry designer who roamed Europe for ten years was actually a Russian spy who infiltrated NATO through charming and seductive commanders.
She was known as Maria Adela Kuhfeldt Rivera, but her real name was Olga Kolobova, and she was a spy working on behalf of Russia’s GRU foreign intelligence agency, according to the research site Bellingcat, which used photo-matching software to track her down.
Rivera settled in Rome, Malta and Paris before making Naples, Italy, her home base. She owned a jewelry store and talked her way into the city’s international party scene, including soirees and balls attended by NATO officers, the outlet reported.
She spoke fluent English and Italian, and an unidentified officer told Bellingcat that the two had a brief romance. A US Navy officer said he was “a little bit in love” with her.
She told European friends that she had been abandoned in Russia by her Peruvian mother and raised by an abusive family.
In 2012, Maria Adela, who was actually the daughter of a colonel in the Russian army, married a supposedly Italian man.
But he was actually Ecuadorian and Russian, and he died mysteriously at age 30 from “double pneumonia and systemic lupus.”
After his death, she settled in Naples and befriended NATO diplomats.
Marcelle D’Argy Smith, the former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, was one of her unwitting friends.
“She was like a goddaughter or a niece. It was disturbing to find out,” said Smith. “She was very beautiful, very demure. She had a lot of male friends, but they never seemed dignified. She was so attractive and the men just looked and I never understood .”
Colonel Sheila Bryant, then inspector general of the US naval forces in Europe and Africa, was suspicious of Maria Adela’s story, Bellingcat said.
She told colleagues to “limit access” to highly confidential military information around her.
In 2018, Maria Adela suddenly left for Moscow – and her friends in Europe haven’t seen her since. Bellingcat theorized that its cover was somehow blown up by outside intelligence.