Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Russia Seeks to Swap Spies Jailed in Germany

Moscow is holding talks with Berlin over the possible exchange of a married couple convicted in Germany earlier this month of being Russian intelligence agents, a newspaper report said on Monday. A German court found the couple, known by their aliases Andreas and Heidrun Anschlag, guilty of spying for Russia and sentenced them to prison terms of 6 1/2 and 5 1/2 years on July 2. Neither of the two admitted the charges, and Russia has not officially confirmed that they worked as its agents. Kommersant business daily reported Monday, citing the couple's defense lawyer Horst-Dieter Petschke and anonymous sources in the Russian special services, that the couple could be returned to Russia, and that their exchange has been under discussion since the verdict was delivered on July 2. According to the trial documents, the Anschlags were planted by the Soviet Union's KGB secret service in the former West Germany from 1988, and later worked for its foreign intelligence successor.

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