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Russia Indicts Spy Turned US Informant

A U.S., front, and a Russian plane, rear, believed to be carrying candidates for a 14-person spy swap as part of the largest spy swap since the Cold War have parked on the tarmac at Vienna's Schwechat airport, (File)

Russian authorities have charged the intelligence officer who cooperated with the United States to expose a Russian spy ring in the U.S. with high treason.

Russia's Federal Security Service announced the move Tuesday, saying Alexander Poteyev has been indicted on suspicion of divulging state secrets. He could face a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.

Poteyev is believed to have fled to the United States.

The United States arrested 10 Russian agents in June last year with Poteyev's help and swapped them for four Russians jailed in Russia on charges of spying for the West.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the 10 Russian secret agents had received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Moscow. He said Russia considered them to be very important to its intelligence-gathering operations. But he said the spies did not pass any classified information to Moscow.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.