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Russia: Researcher Sentenced For Allegedly Spying For U.S.

Moscow, 16 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - A Russian research scientist was today sentenced to 12 years hard labour for allegedly passing top military secrets to the United States.

Itar-tass said that Moisei Finkel was convicted of high treason by Moscow's City Court.

Finkel denied the charges and said he would appeal.

Itar-Tass said Finkel, who had worked at a defense research facility, had contacted U.S. embassy officials in 1993 and offered to disclose data on submarine acoustic systems in return for $500,000. He also hoped to receive political asylum in the United States.

Finkel was arrested in 1994. Itar-tass said his three-month closed-door trial was held at Moscow's top security Lefortovo prison because testimony was too sensitive to be aired in court.

U.S. embassy officials were not immediately available for comment.