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.