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MOSCOW, June 1 (Itar-Tass World Service)
On Thursday, the Moscow City Court sentenced the retired colonel of the military-technical department of the Russian General Staff Vladimir Lazar to 12 years in a tough security penitentiary and deprived him of the military rank for espionage in favour of the United States. The detectives found that Lazar passed to an agent of the foreign intelligence topographic maps, which contained the information constituting the state secret.
“During the preliminary investigation and the trial the detectives found that the former serviceman of the military-technical department of the Russian General Staff retired colonel Lazar, staying in Moscow and acting on a mission of an agent of the US intelligence service Lesment, acquired and passed a substantial amount of scanned images of topographic maps, which contained the information constituting the state secret in December 2008,” the public relations centre of the Federal Security Service told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily.
The detectives found that in 2008 Lazar has bought over 7,000 electronic images of topographic maps on optical disks from a Russian collector. This is a person, who is considered one of the largest world collectors of geographical and topographic maps, finally helped the Russian security services to trace down Vladimir Lazar. Meanwhile, the newspaper reported that the collector was also sentenced to four years in prison for the sale of secret maps.
After the buy the former colonel brought the precious maps to Belarus, where he passed them through a mediator to Lesment, who handed them over to the Pentagon, the newspaper reported. The experts noted that the maps contained classified information, the handover of which to other countries can inflict a major damage to the national security of Russia. In particular, the maps can be used for the information support of the flight missions for the missiles of all types of basing, the preparations and holding of ground operations.
During the investigation and the trial retired colonel Lazar pleaded guilty and confessed in “a too easy-minded attitude” to the proposal of his university mate, the Kommersant daily cited Lazar’s lawyer Magomed Magomedov as saying. “He had a great pity about what he did,” the lawyer added. Meanwhile, Alexander Lesment told the Estonian television last April, when the criminal case against his university mate was passed in the court, that he is not involved in espionage against Russia.
During the court deliberations the public prosecutor demanded from the court to sentence Vladimir Lazar to 15 years in a tough security penitentiary, believing that the retired colonel did not confess sincerely in the espionage case.