Poland convicts Russian businessman for spying: report

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A Polish court on Wednesday sentenced a Russian businessman to three years in prison for spying, the Polish news agency PAP reported.

The 41-year-old, identified according to Polish legal custom only by his first name and final initial, Tadeush Y., had been on trial since October.

He was detained by Poland's ABW counter-espionage service in February 2009 and indicted in August this year.

Both Tadeush Y. and prosecutors, who had sought a five-year sentence, have the option to appeal.

A Russian citizen with a long-term residence permit in Poland, Tadeush Y. was accused of having spied for Russia's GRU military intelligence in 2003.

Polish media have reported that he spoke fluent Polish, and ran a business selling sights for hunting weapons.

They have suggested that his arrest may have been sparked the Kremlin's April 2009 axing of GRU chief General Valentin Korabelnikov.

Warsaw's and Moscow's intelligence services were allies until Poland broke from the crumbling communist bloc in 1989.

Poland joined NATO in 1999 and has become a significant player in the transatlantic alliance. Its post-communist ties with Russia have often been rocky, although this year has seen a thaw.

© 2010 AFP

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