Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Russian who gave up US spy ring charged

According to Associated Press, the former Russian intelligence officer who helped U.S. authorities arrest the Russian spy ring last summer has been charged in his homeland with high treason and desertion, reports said Tuesday.

The indictment for Alexander Poteyev, the man accused of tipping off American authorities about Anna Chapman and her fellow deep cover agents, has been passed to Moscow's main military court, Russian news agencies quoted a Federal Security Service statement as saying.

Poteyev, who controlled U.S.-based spy operations from Moscow, fled to America just before Washington announced it had uncovered the 10 spies last summer, Russian media said. They were deported in exchange for four suspected agents who had been incarcerated in Russia. It was the biggest spy swap between the two countries since the Cold War.

Russia's Federal Security Service refused to confirm Poteyev's charges to The Associated Press. But Lyudmila Klimenko, a spokeswoman at the Moscow District Military Court, which specializes in closed-door trials, confirmed the existence of the charges and that indictment had been received. High treason carries a maximum of 20 years' prison under Russian law, while desertion is seven years.