Of the ten agents in custody–one is still at large in Cyprus somewhere–none are charged with espionage since no classified information was actually delivered to Moscow; eight are charged with conspiring to commit money laundering; and all are charged with “conspiring to act as unregistered agents of a foreign government.” If convicted, the eight could face 25 years in prison.
“The proposed resolution could allow all the defendants to plead guilty to fewer charges or charges carrying lesser penalties or even time served, and it could result in deportations or agreements that allow them to return to Russia.
The proposed resolution could lead to a series of relatively quick guilty pleas, allowing the defendants to receive some kind of legal benefit and the government to avoid a series of protracted trials.”
The deal would also smooth Russian-American relations. After all, Mr. Prokhorov is busy erecting billboards, Steve Jobs just gifted President Dmitriy Medvedev a new iPhone and have you seen Moscow in the fall?
Just like that, the whole spy business might soon be over. Just as Salt, a film in which Angelina Jolie is accused of being a Russian spy, is slated to hit theatres later this month.