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10 Russian spies leave for Moscow after New York guilty pleas

07-09-2010 13:39 BJT

NEW YORK, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Ten alleged Russian spies left for Moscow on Thursday after pleading guilty in New York.

It marks one of the largest spy swaps between the two countries since the Cold War.

The Russian Federation has agreed to release four individuals incarcerated in Russia for alleged contact with Western intelligence agencies, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday.

Meanwhile, the 10 Russian spy suspects plead guilty in federal court in New York as part of a plea deal with the U.S. government.

All the defendants gave their true names and birth dates in court, according to the U.S. officials.

"Today's criminal convictions of 10 Russian agents in Manhattan federal court mark the culmination of years of extraordinary work by the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, and the Department of Justice's National Security Division," said Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

"Through this historic investigation and prosecution, we have achieved justice on an international scale that has enhanced the national security of the United States," he added.

The 10 suspects were arrested in the United States on June 27, on charges of being part of a Russian espionage ring. An eleventh suspect was detained in Cyprus and released on bail but it was reported later that he apparently went missing.

Russia said that members of the suspected spy ring were Russians, but denied they had acted against U.S. interests.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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