Russia`s ex-intelligence officer charged with high treason
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Last Updated: Tuesday, May 03, 2011, 19:57
Moscow: Russia's counter-espionage agency has charged a former intelligence officer with high treason for helping the US bust a Russian spy ring last year, leading to the arrest of 10 agents, including Anna Chapman who later became a pinup girl.

"The FSB investigation department has completed an investigation into the case and charged Russian national Alexander Poteyev with committing high treason by divulging state secrets," Federal Security Service, Russia's internal security and counter-espionage agency, said in a statement.

According to RIA Novosti news agency, the charge sheet against Poteyev, the former foreign intelligence service colonel, was sent to Moscow's Main Military Court on April 21. His case will be heard in absentia.

Col Poteyev fled to the United States with his family shortly before the arrest of the sleeper agents in the US was made public.

High treason carries a maximum of 20 years' prison under Russian law, while desertion is seven years.

Ten Russians, including red haired diva Chapman, were arrested in the US in June 2010 for espionage. They pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as unregistered foreign agents and were deported to Russia in exchange for four men accused by the Kremlin of spying for Britain's MI6 and the CIA.

It was the biggest spy swap between the two countries since the Cold War.

Chapman became a pinup girl amid speculation that are she was mulling a career in Russian politics.


First Published: Tuesday, May 03, 2011, 19:57

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