(photo credit: Associated Press)
An indictment has been returned in New York against 11 defendants accused of spying for Russia on Wednesday.
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The indictment unsealed in federal court in Manhattan charged all 11 defendants with conspiring to act as secret agents in the United States on behalf of the Russian Federation.
Nine of the defendants were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Russia and the United States are working out a spy swap involving the Russians suspects recently arrested in the United States and an imprisoned nuclear researcher, his brother said Wednesday.
Dmitry Sutyagin said his brother Igor was told by Russian officials that he would be released and sent to Britain in exchange for an unknown number of spies. The officials met Igor Sutyagin on Monday at a prison in Arkhangelsk, in northwestern Russia, and US officials were at the meeting, his brother said.
Sutyagin, a Russian, said he was made to sign a confession, although he maintains his innocence and does not want to leave Russia, his brother said. After the meeting, Sutyagin was transferred to Moscow's Lefortovo prison, his brother said.
He was arrested in 1999 and convicted in 2004 on charges of passing
information on nuclear submarines and missile-warning systems to a
British company that investigators claimed was a CIA cover.
The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Federal Penitentiary Service said
they had no comment on the claim and a spokesman for the US Embassy was
not immediately available for comment.
Sutyagin denied that he was spying, saying the information he provided
was available from open sources. His case was one of several incidents
of Russian academics and scientists being targeted by the Federal
Security Service and accused of misusing classified information,
revealing state secrets or, in some cases, espionage.