A Moscow military court today found the man who revealed the identity of 11 Russian spies to the US guilty in absentia. Alexander Poteyev was found guilty of high treason and desertion and prosecutors have asked for a sentence of 25 years. He reportedly fled to the US with his family before the spies’ identities were revealed.
In case you forget which spy scandal I’m talking about, just think: Anna Chapman. The flame-haired-big-bosomed-rather-charming-favorite-new-IT-girl-rising-political-star apparently made an appearance in court to give testimony (the trial was closed to journalists/observers). Chapman was one of 10 men and women who pled guilty in a US court to conspiring to espionage and were swiftly deported in a spy swap. An 11th man, named as Christopher Robert Metsos, fled to Cyprus.
According to Interfax, 59-year-old Poteyev was one of the heads of the foreign intelligence service’s Directorate S department focusing on the US. The court heard that he revealed their identities to the CIA during trips abroad and during meetings in Moscow. He also leaked to the CIA how Russia finances and communicates with agents abroad, Interfax reported.
And this is how Poteyev apparently fled (according to Interfax, citing court documents): he traveled to Belarus by train on his own passport, and from there, with the help of a falsified passport provided by US secret services, went on to Germany and then to the US, where he lives to this day.
This is the text he allegedly sent his wife from Minsk: “Mary, try to take this calmly, I’m leaving not for some time, but forever. I didn’t want this, but it happened. I’m starting life anew, I will try to help the kids.” Interfax says he appeared to flee in a rush. US-based reporters, you take it from here, please.
Here's Poteyev, third from left (standing):