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Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Soviet spycatcher guilty of treason
Oleg Kalugin
Kalugin will stripped of all ranks and honours
A former general in the Soviet secret service has been jailed in his absence for treason and spying for the United States.

Oleg Kalugin, who now lives in the US, was given a 15-year term in a maximum security prison.

Mr Kalugin had denied any wrongdoing.

He ran the KGB's exterior counter-intelligence department from 1973-1980, and wrote a book in 1994 about Soviet intelligence operations.

Spy tours

The court declared him guilty of revealing official secrets in "First Directorate", which he co-wrote with an American journalist.

Mr Kalugin had also been accused of handing over classified documents to Washington during his testimony at the Florida espionage trial of retired US general George Trofimoff.

But the court threw out this charge because it did not have access to the Trofimoff trial transcripts, and said it would not make a ruling on the basis of press reports.

Mr Kalugin is the first KGB operative to be tried in absentia in Russia for treason since the fall of communism in 1991.

He is likely to be the last.

New code

The trial was carried out quickly in order to miss the introduction of a new criminal code on 1 July, which does not allow for trials in absentia.

The sentence came one day after another former intelligence agent, Alexander Litvinenko, was given a three-and-a-half-year suspended prison sentence for abuse of office and stealing explosives. That sentence was also imposed in his absence, after he fled to London and claimed political asylum.

Mr Kalugin has called the proceedings an act of revenge by his former colleagues.

He has been living in the US since 1995, and has written a series of books criticising the Soviet secret service and denouncing contemporary Russia as corrupt and crime-ridden.

He has also made money giving espionage tours around Washington with a former American spy.

See also:

10 Apr 02 | Europe
06 Jul 01 | Americas
02 Nov 00 | UK
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