Born Rolland Abbiate, a.k.a. Francois Rossi, code name “Sergei.” An officer of Soviet state security (and Captain of GB). Born in England as the son of a native of Monaco, Abbiate grew up in the Russian imperial capital of St. Petersburg. In early 1920, however, he began to turn up in the West — in Monte Carlo, Marseilles, France and New York, where he lived from 1926 to 1928. He was in Nice, France from 1929 to 1932.
In 1932, Abbiate became an operative of OGPU. His missions included participating in the assassination of a defector from the Soviet intelligence service, Ignacii Poretsky, known in the West as Ignatz Reiss. In 1937, Abbiate took Soviet citizenship. After a few months of working at the TASS agency in Moscow in 1940 and 1941, Abbiate was posted to New York in October 1941 as an undercover NKGB intelligence operative under the name of Vladimir Sergeevich Pravdin. Until the fall of 1943, Pravdin was assistant resident and resident in New York. After a brief return home, he was again posted to New York from January 1944 to March 1946, under the cover of TASS bureau chief. He was recalled following Bentley‘s betrayal and discharged in 1947.