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Siberian FSB Accuses 2 Men of Trying to Sell State Secrets

RIA Novosti

12:20 14/06/2013 NOVOSIBIRSK, June 14 (RIA Novosti) – Siberian security services claimed on Friday to have prevented two incidents of high treason, but neither of the two Novosibirsk Region residents suspected of trying to sell state secrets abroad in two separate cases has been charged.

One suspect was caught red-handed as he attempted to collect money from a postal box for what the FSB suspects was payment for “the materials he had earlier leaked to foreign intelligence,” the FSB said in a statement. An FSB spokeswoman said the passing on of the previous information had not represented a risk to national security, Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper reported.

The resident of Novosibirsk – a former employee of a local defense firm – whose name has not been revealed, had planned to leak classified information about Russian defense technology to foreign secret services when he was apprehended by the officers.

Another suspect from a nearby town had planned to leak state secrets concerning Russian defense facilities designated for specific wartime assignments in the event of a mobilization to “a Western state,” the statement said. The FSB did not identify the states that were to have received the leaked information.

The second suspect wanted to sell the state secrets for up to $3,000, local media reported.

A local FSB spokesperson said the two suspects have not been charged with state treason – which in Russia is punishable by up to 20 years in jail – because they had been apprehended before they could pass on the information, RBC media group reported. The suspects were released after being given official warnings that they could be charged with treason if they repeat their attempts to leak classified data.

Spy scandals have made the headlines in Russia several times in recent months. In May, Russia publically expelled a US embassy employee it said was an undercover spy after showing footage of the man being detained and questioned on state TV. Days later, an FSB spokesman said that back in January, Russia had also expelled another CIA agent also working undercover at the embassy.

Updated at 16.23 with details, changes lead, corrects throughout.

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