Russian intelligence officers charged with betraying state secrets have been accused of covering up their meetings with foreign spies by pretending to act as Kremlin recruiters.
The former FSB officers reportedly told colleagues that they wanted to recruit foreign agents to work for the Kremlin. Instead, they used their meetings to pass on classified information, the Interfax news agency reported Monday.
The four men were investigated for several years before they were arrested, an unnamed source told Interfax. All stand accused of working with U.S. spy agency the CIA.
They have been named as Sergei Mikhailov, a top cyber-security specialist in Russia's FSB; his deputy, Dmitry Dokuchaev; and Ruslan Stoyanov, the head of the cyber-investigation division at private Russian technology firm Kaspersky Labs. The fourth suspect was named by Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta as Georgy Fomchenkova.
Another eight people have identified as potential accomplices in the case, Interfax reported. They have yet to be charged, and could be granted immunity in exchange for acting as witnesses.