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13 Jul, 2010 08:31

US deports 12th Russian spy suspect

The US has deported another Russian citizen – the 12th person suspected of involvement in the recent spy ring scandal between Washington and Moscow.

Officials say he's being expelled on immigration violations, as they don't have enough evidence to charge him with a crime. 23-year-old Aleksey Karetnikov was arrested at the end of last month in Seattle and held until his expulsion.

"Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence investigators have been investigating the 23-year-old Russian man since last fall when his name surfaced in a decade-long spy investigation," the WSJ article stated, citing an anonymous official.

Karetnikov has allegedly been under surveillance since October 2009, shortly after he entered the US.

He worked for the computer giant Microsoft. The company refused to reveal its former employee's duties, or exactly when he started working there.

The man was detained following the recent arrests of 11 Russians suspected of involvement in a spy ring.

The news comes days after 10 of the 11 spy suspects had been exchanged for four prisoners held in Russia. The 11th suspect escaped in Cyprus after being released on bail.

In Moscow, the arrest and deportation of the Russian spy chain is seen as more than just a coincidence.

Deputy Gennady Gudkov from Russia’s State Duma Security Committee, who's a former KGB officer, says it's all a plan to sabotage Russia-US relations.

“Obviously it was a political step. It happened right after president Medvedev's visit to the US and was aimed at Barack Obama to discredit him and add fuel to anti-Russian sentiments. It's clear not all the structures are controlled by Obama, and he has a very strong opposition inside the US. And this opposition is powerful enough to hold full-scale operations,” Gudkov said.