Russian 'spy ring' suspects denied bail by US courts

Image caption,
Most of the Russian spy suspects have not been granted bail

Three suspected Russian spies held by the US have been denied bail by a Virginia court.

The suspects were returned to jail after two admitted being Russian citizens living under assumed names.

Six suspects were earlier denied bail in New York and an 11th suspect is on the run in Cyprus.

The young children of suspects Mikhail Kutzik and Natalia Pereverzeva are to be sent back to Russia to live with relatives, prosecutors say.

The couple had been living under the names Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills.

US authorities are not sure of the true identities of the eight children involved in the case - or if they are related to the suspects at all.

But Mr Kutzik and Ms Pereverzeva have instructed a family friend caring for their children, aged one and three, to take them back to Russia to live with their relatives, federal prosecutors said.

Conspiracy charge

The couple appeared along with a third suspect, Mikhail Semenko, in court in Virginia briefly on Friday.

One of the men held in New York, Juan Lazaro, is already said to have admitted to prosecutors that he worked for Russia's foreign intelligence service.

The suspects are accused of conspiracy to act as unlawful agents of a foreign government, a crime less serious than espionage but which carries up to five years in jail.

On Thursday Peruvian-born journalist Vicky Pelaez was granted bail by a New York court.

Prosecutors said Mr Kutzik and Ms Pereverzeva had also been linked to two safe deposit boxes containing a total $100,000 (£66,000) in cash.


In a submission to the court in Virginia, prosecutors also argued the couple had worked closely with several other defendants in this case.

They were detained in Arlington, just outside Washington DC, where they had been living with their two young children.

They and Mr Semenko, who was working at a Russian travel agency in the town when he was arrested, are due to appear in court again next week.

An 11th man, who went on the run in Cyprus on Wednesday after skipping bail, is believed to have fled the island, the Associated Press news agency quoted the Cypriot justice minister as saying.

Christopher Metsos, suspected of being the group's paymaster, was now unlikely to be caught, said Lucas Luca.

Earlier, the US embassy denied local media reports that Mr Metsos was being held at its compound.