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Russian Spy Microsoft Employee? Software Giant Says Alexey Karetnikov Worked for Them

Alexey Karetnikov was the 12th man arrested as part of a Russian spy ring bust
Alexey Karetnikov (Personal Photo) Personal Photo

REDMOND, Wash. (CBS/AP) He's being referred to as the 12th man in the recent spy ring investigation - not directly involved in the game but possibly cheering from the sidelines - and now Microsoft has confirmed that Alexey Karetnikov was an employee of the software giant.

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U.S. Investigators have said that Karetnikov was not directly involved with the ten Russian agents who were arrested last month, but they did say that his name came up during the course of their investigation.

Karetnikov was arrested June 28 as part of the largest spy ring bust since the Cold War. He was held in New York until Tuesday, when he admitted that he was present in the United States in violation of immigration law and voluntarily agreed to deportation in lieu of further court proceedings, deputy Homeland Security press secretary Matt Chandler said in a statement Tuesday.

A spokesman for Microsoft, Lou Gellos, confirmed Wednesday that Karetnikov was a low-level software tester for nine months in their Redmond, Wash. headquarters, but wouldn't elaborate further.

Investigators have uncovered no evidence the man possessed, retained or passed on sensitive or classified information to Russia, Law enforcement officials to CBS affiliate KIRO.

Investigators believe Karetnikov entered the U.S. in October 2009, his Facebook page says he was married in March 2009 but there was no indication that his wife came to the U.S. with him.

Once deported, Karetnikov would face criminal and civil penalties if he returned without U.S. government permission, deputy Homeland Security press secretary Matt Chandler said.

Ten Russian agents who infiltrated suburban America were deported last week in exchange for four people convicted of betraying Moscow to the West. They were all living near New York, Washington or Boston. An 11th defendant, the ring's alleged paymaster, has been a fugitive since fleeing authorities in Cyprus following his release on bail.

Complete Russian Spy Coverage at Crimesider.

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