Expelled Russian spy hired by Rosneft: report

13th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

One of the 10 Russian spies expelled from the United States this summer has been hired as a senior adviser with the country's state-run oil giant Rosneft, Kommersant cited company sources as saying Monday.

Andrei Bezrukov, who went under the alias of Donald Howard Heathfield in the United States, will serve as an adviser to the president, the business daily reported.

He might eventually be promoted to vice president for international projects, it added.

"Prime Minister Vladimir Putin kept his promise of finding jobs for the spies arrested in the United States, ensuring that they led 'interesting, bright lives,'" Kommersant observed on its front page.

The former intelligence agent Putin met the 10 sleeper agents on their return to Russia in July, singing patriotic songs with the group and vowing to secure them a happy future in their native country.

"They will work, I am sure, they will work in worthy places. I do not doubt that they will have an interesting, bright life," Putin said after the meeting.

Since then, Anna Chapman, whose glamorous looks and mysterious lifestyle have made her into a minor international celebrity, has been hired as a representative of a little-known asset management firm called FondsServiceBank.

Kommersant said Bezrokov came to the United States in 1999, settling in Boston, where he became a partner with the Global Partners Inc. consulting firm. He launched his own advisory firm in 2006, the paper said.

The sleeper agents, many of whom had been working for years undercover in the United States, returned to Russia in a sensational spy swap that saw Moscow send four Russian convicts to the West.

Putin told CNN this month that the group "didn't cause any harm to the interests of the United States of America," adding that their assignment was to provide information "in crisis periods" only.

© 2010 AFP

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