A Russian intelligence chief has been convicted of treason in his absence by a Moscow court for unmasking a US-based spy ring.
Alexander Poteyev, who had long collaborated with the Central Intelligence Agency and escaped to the US, was sentenced to 25 years in jail.
The 10 Russian agents he exposed last year were deported. The case was a major embarrassment for Moscow coming as it did just days after President Dmitry Medvedev’s Washington summit with Barack Obama.
A military judge said Poteyev, a colonel in Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for passing details about how Moscow finances and communicates with its spies working abroad to the CIA.
“Alexander Nikolayevich Poteyev is…found guilty of state treason, i.e. of revealing state secrets by a Russian National to representatives of a foreign state,” said Alexander Ababkov.
He was sentenced to an additional five years for desertion.
Poteyev, who had received state awards including a medal for “impeccable service”, fled Russia by travelling to Belarus where US intelligence agents spirited him back to the United States.