U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says 10 Russian secret agents deported by U.S. authorities as part of a spy swap had received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Moscow.
Holder told U.S. television network CBS Sunday that Russia considered the 10 spies to be very important to their intelligence-gathering operations. But he says they did not pass any classified information to Moscow.
The United States arrested the 10 Russian agents last month and traded them Friday for four Russians jailed in Russia on charges of spying for the West. The two sides made the exchange at Vienna's international airport.
Holder says the Obama administration saw the swap as an opportunity to get four people in whom U.S. and British authorities have a great interest.
A plane flew two of the Russians freed by Moscow to Britain before bringing the other two to the United States. A family member of one of the four told the Associated Press that the two Russians dropped off in Britain were staying at an undisclosed hotel outside London.
Dmitry Sutyagin said the wife of his brother Igor spoke briefly with the arms expert by telephone Saturday. He says Igor Sutyagin apparently was given a telephone card to make the call to Russia that did not disclose his brother's number or location.
Attorney General Holder said all children of the 10 Russian spies deported by Washington were repatriated in a manner consistent with parental wishes. The offspring range in age from a one-year-old baby to a 38-year-old architect.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.