Moscow: A former Russian serviceman has been charged with selling classified maps of Russia to the US Defense Department.
The Prosecutor General`s Office has initiated a criminal case against Vladimir Lazar, a former serviceman with the Topographic Service of Russia`s Armed Forces.
Lazar has been charged with transferring secret data to a former fellow student, Alexander Lesment, who had been actively collaborating with US intelligence since 1994, a spokesperson said.
In 2008, Lazar, acting on instructions from Lesment, bought optical discs containing more than 7,000 images of topographic maps of Russia from a collector. Later, he digitalised the data and sold it in Belarus through an intermediary.
The transfer of this information could cause serious harm to Russia`s security, the spokesperson said.
"According to US Defense Department experts, the topographic maps contain data that include state secrets," the spokesperson said.
Lesment and Lazar studied together in Leningrad Higher Military Topographic Command School in 1975-1979. Since the mid-1990s Lesment has lived in Estonia.