Thursday, November 23, 2017

Worker convicted of espionage in Yekaterinburg

A worker at Russian defense company NPO Automation who was caught passing missile secrets to a foreign intelligence agency has been convicted.

Alexander Gniteyev, a worker at NPO Automation, was convicted of espionage at the Sverdlovsk Regional Court in the city of Yekaterinburg last week. According to court spokesman Yelena Maryina, Gniteyev was sentenced to an eight year prison term in addition to a $3,200 fine, TheMoscowTimes.com reports.

NPO Automation is one of the leading defense companies in the Urals region, specializing in the development and manufacturing of electric equipment and control systems for rocket and missile technology. National news agencies reported that Gniteyev stole secrets related to the Bulava missile program, which handles submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The Bulava missile program is currently the most expensive weapons project in the country.

Federal Security Service spokesperson Anna Lastovitskaya confirmed that Gniteyev passed on missile secrets to foreign intelligence, but would not say which country Gniteyev was working for, according to TheMoscowTimes.com.

In February, Russian military officer Lt. Col. Vladimir Nesterets was sentenced to 13 years in prison after pleading guilty in a military court to passing missile secrets to the CIA for money.