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Russian colonel sentenced for repairing laptop with classified information in Ukraine

September 30, 2014, 20:25 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The convict held the post of head of the Fifth Department of the Radioelectronic Warfare Troops Command since 2009 and was responsible for organizing radioelectronic protection
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© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Bobylev

MOSCOW, September 30. /ITAR-TASS/. The Moscow District Military Court on Tuesday gave a two-year suspended sentence to Russian army colonel Vitaly Zaichenko for divulging classified information when repairing his laptop computer in Ukraine, an ITAR-TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom.

The convict held the post of head of the Fifth Department of the Radioelectronic Warfare Troops Command since 2009 and was responsible for organizing radioelectronic protection. The post gave Zaichenko access to sensitive and top secret data.

Investigators established that the colonel kept some classified information on his Acer notebook, which broke down and he gave it to his sister, a national of Ukraine, for repair. She, in turn, took the laptop to Ukraine and gave it to two computer technicians for them to repair it and decipher data stored on it.

In line with the sentence, Zaichenko did not have intent to sell secret information from the notebook, so he was not charged with high treason. The court ruled Zaichenko guilty under Article 283 part 1 (intentional divulgence of data protected by the state) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

After the repair, according to the sentence, Ukrainian nationals involved in the repair effort saw a secret order of the Russian defense minister and a government resolution regulating the radioelectronic warfare system.

“There were no grave consequences,” the sentence says.

The colonel changed his evidence a few times - at the first stage of investigation, he denied that he gave his notebook for repair to Ukraine, then he agreed with the prosecution, after which he was released from a pre-trial detention center, and he held an intermediate position in court, confirming that he handed the notebook for repair but denying that it contained secret data.

The court, when assigning punishment, took into account positive characteristics of Zaichenko and his merits, as well as the absence of grave consequences. After the end of his suspended sentence, the colonel will be banned from holding state and military posts for two years.

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