Russia, U.S. work on spy swap: report

Five suspects in the Russia spy case have been hastily ordered to New York amid reports that the U.S. and Russia are arranging a spy swap.
At far right is Anna Stavitskaya, a lawyer acting for Russian nuclear weapons expert Igor Sutyagin, whose mother Svetlana and brother Dmitry attend a news conference in Moscow on Wednesday. ((Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters))

Five suspects in the Russia spy case were hastily ordered to New York on Wednesday amid reports that the U.S. and Russia are arranging a spy swap.

The third-ranking U.S. diplomat, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, a former American ambassador to Moscow, had a Wednesday morning meeting with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.

Officials declined to comment on what happened at the meeting, the location of which was identified only as Washington, D.C. Neither the Justice Department nor the State Department would comment on reports of a developing swap.

A scheduled court hearing in Alexandria, Va., for Michael Zottoli, Patricia Mills and Mikhail Semenko was cancelled and the trio ordered to New York where the cases against 10 of the 11 defendants will now be handled. The 11th defendant, Christopher Metsos, fled after being released on bail in Cyprus.

In Boston, defendants Donald Heathfield and his wife, Tracey Lee Ann Foley, of Cambridge, Mass., waived their right to identity and detention hearings there and were being sent to New York as well. The other five defendants were already in custody in New York.

Meanwhile, an indictment was returned Wednesday in New York against the 11 defendants accused of spying for Russia. The indictment unsealed in Federal Court in Manhattan charges all 11 defendants with conspiring to act as secret agents in the U.S. on behalf of the Russian Federation.

Nine of the defendants were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Earlier, Dmitry Sutyagin said his brother Igor, who is serving a 14-year prison sentence in Russia on charges of spying for the United States, was told by Russian officials that he was included in a group of other convicted foreign spies who are to be exchanged for the Russians arrested by the FBI last month.