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Russian banker sentenced to prison in US for espionage

A Russian banker in New York City has been sentenced to over two years in prison for taking part in a spy ring. Along with two others, he set out to recruit Americans and gain intelligence to send back to Moscow.

Evgeny Buryakov, 41, was sentenced on Wednesday to 2 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty in March to having conspired on behalf of the Russian government. The sentence took into account the 16 months he'd already spent in prison.

Officially an employee in the New York branch of the Russian state-owned bank Vnesheconombank,

Buryakov worked as a spy for Moscow starting in 2012

.

Two other Russians were involved in the spy ring: Igor Sporyshev, a trade representative, and Victor Podobnyy, an attaché to the UN.

Broken spy ring

Together, the three men worked for the SVR, Russia's state intelligence service, gathering intelligence on issues such as the economic sanctions leveled against Moscow in the wake of the Ukraine conflict.

The FBI reportedly eavesdropped on the men over a period of months until Buryakov was arrested in January 2015. Neither Sporyshev nor Podobnyy was arrested, as both men had diplomatic immunity.

Buryakov, who has a wife and two children, will spend the rest of his sentence in Fort Dix, a low-security prison in New Jersey.

blc/sms (AFP, Reuters)

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