Trial under way for accused Russian whistleblower

A military court in Moscow has opened a trial against a former Russian intelligence officer accused of helping U.S. authorities to arrest a Russian spy ring.

Alexander Poteyev has been charged with high treason and desertion. Prosecutors claim he tipped off American authorities about Anna Chapman and her fellow deep-cover agents. He is being tried in his absence.

Court spokeswoman Lyudmila Klimenko said on Russian television on Monday that a panel of judges had started the trial, which will be closed to public.

Russian media say Poteyev controlled U.S.-based spy operations from Moscow, and fled to America just before Washington announced it had uncovered the 10 spies last summer. They were deported in exchange for four suspected agents who had been incarcerated in Russia.