A senior Kremlin official said on Friday that U.S. businessman Edmond Pope, convicted as a spy but expected to be pardoned by President Vladimir Putin, would probably have to stay in jail until December 14. Sergei Ivanov, the secretary of the president's influential Security Council, was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying that under Russian law Pope could not be pardoned until the court's sentence of 20 years in jail had come into effect. "The verdict on E. Pope was announced on December 6 and the sentence comes into effect a week after the verdict is given. That means that the president can pardon Pope on December 14," Ivanov said. He said Pope, who denied charges of trying to obtain secrets on a Russian torpedo, could be home for Christmas, Reuters reports.