Former Russian diplomat Valentin Moisseyev, 56, has served his prison term for espionage, and was released, reports Anatoli Yablokov, his legal adviser.
Though his client's term was expiring today, he was kindly released on December 31for the holidays, added Mr. Yablokov.
Once vice-director of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1st Asian department, Moisseyev was tried for high treason in the form of espionage. Found guilty, he was convicted to four years and a half in a maximum security prison, with criminally acquired property confiscated.
The Federal Security Service, or FSB, had offered to court exhaustive evidence of the diplomat passing classified information and top-secret documents to South Korean intelligence. Russia's Criminal Code, Clause 275, on which he was tried, envisages imprisonment for twelve to twenty years. The court mitigated the sentence as much as possible-and even more, as the convict had no previous criminal record, and his health was failing.
FSB officers detained Moisseyev at home, July 4, 1998, after contact with an identified South Korean agent. He was indicted three days later.
Searches in the suspect's flat and office offered material evidence of his involvement in espionage, and US$5,747 obtained from the National Security Planning Agency-South Korean intelligence service. As his investigation file has it, he was recruited while on an official sojourn in South Korea, 1992-94, and came into contact with the residential agent in Moscow upon return.
Classified papers on Russia's military-technological partnership with North Korea were prominent among materials the diplomat passed to the National Security Planning Agency.
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