A Moscow military district court on Monday found former Russian intelligence officer Alexander Poteyev, who helped U.S. authorities disclose a Russian spy ring last summer, guilty of high treason and sentenced in absentia to 25 years in prison.
Ten Russians, including media star Anna Chapman, were arrested in the United States in June 2010 on suspicion of espionage. They pled 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.
The Moscow Military District Court held that Poteyev’s guilt had been proven.
“Poteyev uncovered Russian sleeper agents from foreign intelligence services to the United States, he also deserted,” the verdict said.
Poteyev, who was secretly working for the CIA, fled to the United States with his family shortly before the arrest of the sleeper agents was made public. His case was heard in absentia.
According to his lawyer, Dmitry Mikhailov, the prosecution asked the court to recognize Poteyev as guilty of the alleged crimes.
The verdict of the Moscow military district court said that former spy Anna Chapman testified against Poteyev at the trial. Other members of the espionage scandal also bore witness.
The court also deprived Poteyev his rank of colonel and stripped him of his awards. Poteyev’s lawyers plan to appeal the verdict.