MOSCOW, April 3 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has filed at the court a criminal case of the selling of Russian classified topographic maps to the U.S. Department of Defense, Office spokesperson Marina Gridneva said.
“Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin endorsed the bill of indictment in the case of Vladimir Lazar, who had been accused by the Russian Federal Security Service’s Investigative Department of high treason in the form of espionage [Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code],” she said.
“Vladimir Lazar served in the Soviet and Russian Armed Forces from August 1975 through March 2003, including the 40th topogeodesic unit, and had an access to state secrets. He is a retired colonel now. From April 2003 to the moment of his detention, Lazar worked at the VISKHAGI Goszemkadastrsyemka federal state unitary enterprise and also had an access to state secrets,” Gridneva said.
“In 1975-1979 Lazar studied at the Leningrad Topographic Military Command School together with Russian citizen Alexander Lesment, who moved to Estonia in the mid-1990s and started his active cooperation with the U.S. Department of Defense’s intelligence unit in1994 to supply it with topographic materials, including those classified,” she said.
“Lesment established online contact with a Russian collector of topographic maps with the goal of their selling and exchange. In 2008 Lazar followed Lesment’s order and bought discs containing over 7,000 topographic maps of Russia from the collector. He copied the files to a hard drive and took it to Belarus, where the files were handed over to Lesment by an intermediary,” she said.
“In the opinion of experts, the topographic maps obtained by the U.S. Department of Defense contain state secrets. Their transfer to the military departments of other states may cause significant damage to Russian security and assist planning of possible military actions. Topographic maps may be used to support missile launches and land operations,” Gridneva said.
The court will hear merits of the Lazar case.