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Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 19:48 GMT 20:48 UK
Russians release 'CIA spy'
CIA headquarters in Langley, VIrginia
The hacker was allegedly passing secrets to the CIA
The Russian authorities are reported to have released a man accused of spying for the United States.

The release was reported by the Russian news agency Interfax, which also quoted a security official quoted who declined to confirm the report.

The Lithuanian man, who was named in a press report as Pavel Ilyin, 24, is said to have passed secrets to his own government as well as to the US.

News of the arrest was given on Monday by the Russian domestic security service, the FSB - the successor to the KGB.

Expulsions

A statement from the FSB said the man had been a Lithuanian agent who had worked since 1999 for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on a project aimed at obtaining information on the FSB.

Lithuania's State Security Department denied that one of its agents worked in Russia but said the person it believed to be the main suspect once provided computer services for the department.

His arrest came only months after US diplomat Cherie Leberknight was ordered to leave the country for allegedly trying to obtain military secrets.

Shortly afterwards, Washington expelled a Russian diplomat.

And less than a fortnight ago, the Americans arrested a retired Reserve Army officer and accused him of spying for the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

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See also:

05 Apr 00 | Europe
US 'spy' held in Moscow
15 Mar 00 | Europe
Moscow arrests 'British spy'
14 Oct 98 | Americas
US army analyst accused of spying
02 Dec 99 | Europe
US 'spy' recalled
13 Sep 99 | Britain betrayed
Who's being spied on?
26 Jun 00 | Europe
Russians arrest 'CIA hacker'
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