Officer Who Exposed Russian Spies Is Sentenced in Absentia

Russian spy Anna Chapman and Colonel Alexandr Poteyev

From Michael Schwirtz, the New York Times:  A Moscow court sentenced a former Russian intelligence officer in absentia to 25 years in prison on Monday for leaking information that led to the exposure last summer of a Russian spy ring in the United States.

The Moscow District Military Court convicted the officer, Aleksandr Poteyev, of treason, ruling that he had direct knowledge of the activities and whereabouts of a group of Russian sleeper agents in metropolitan Boston and New York and the suburbs of northern Virginia — including Anna Chapman, who has become a major celebrity here since being exposed.

“Poteyev betrayed to the United States government a group of agents from the Foreign Intelligence Agency,” the judge, who remained unnamed, said, according to the Ria Novosti news agency. “He also deserted. . . .”

He was officially charged in absentia in May. His trial was closed to the news media, and the testimony delivered at hearings was classified. But Russian journalists on Monday were permitted in the courtroom when the judge read the verdict, which included new details about the case. . . .

The Russian authorities believe that Mr. Poteyev fled to the United States shortly before the F.B.I. moved in to arrest the spies, 10 of whom were later deported after pleading guilty to conspiring to act as unregistered foreign agents. An 11th agent was arrested in Cyprus, but later escaped.  (photo: Telegraph)

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