01:33 GMT31 May 2020
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    Constant Stress, Illness Likely Cause of Russian Double Agent's Death

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    Constant stress and consequent aggravation of any underlining illnesses may have caused the reported death of former Russian Foreign Intelligence Service employee Alexander Poteyev, who had earlier fled to the United States, the former director Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), Nikolai Kovalev, said Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, media reports appeared claiming that Poteyev died.

    "We have to wait for official confirmation of the cause of [Poteyev's] death…. I'm still inclined to think that his death was caused by constant stress which aggravates any illnesses [he may have had]," Kovalev, who is also a member of the lower house of the Russian parliament, told RIA Novosti.

    The former FSB head did not exclude a scenario whereby Poteyev may have been suffering from an illness for which the United States had promised him a cure.

    "And all this could have spurred him on to betrayal. But this is only a hypothesis," Kovalev added.

    According to Kovalev, it is also possible that the United States staged Poteyev's death as part of its Witness Protection Program.

    Poteyev was convicted in absentia in Russia of disclosing the identities of a group of alleged Russian agents arrested and deported by US authorities in 2010. He was subsequently sentenced to 25 years in prison.

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