2 Jul 2010

Russian spy has confessed, prosecutors say

7:14 pm on 2 July 2010

Prosecutors say a suspected member of a Russian spy ring in the United States has confessed to being a spy working for Russia's intelligence service.

Ten people were arrested earlier this week on suspicion of spying, creating a media sensation in the US. They have now begun appearing before the courts.

Prosecutors say that one of them, "Juan Lazaro", has admitted that that is not his real name and that his home in Yonkers, New York, was paid for by Russian intelligence.

He is also said to have confessed that his wife, journalist Vicky Pelaez, passed letters to the "service" on his behalf.

Mr Lazaro's bail hearing has been postponed but a judge in New York has granted bail to Ms Pelaez and denied bail to two others.

Judge Ronald Ellis said Ms Pelaez, a columnist for the New York Spanish-language daily El Diario, could be freed on bond but held in her home and monitored electronically.

But he denied bail to Cynthia and Richard Murphy, saying evidence was strong that they are agents of a foreign government who have used false identification.

Bail hearings for five other alleged spies were delayed by courts in Alexandria, Virginia, and in Boston.