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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Babkin's Wife Seeks Her Half

The wife of a Russian professor awaiting trial on high treason charges filed a suit in a Moscow district court Tuesday, demanding the Federal Security Service return half of the money seized during a search of the professor's home in 2001, Interfax reported.

The FSB charged Anatoly Babkin, a professor at Moscow's elite Bauman State Technical University, in April 2000 with divulging classified information on the Shkval torpedo to U.S. citizen Edmond Pope. Searching Babkin's premises, investigators found and seized $12,000.

Galina Yashina, Babkin's wife, wants half of the sum returned to her, claiming the FSB can only hold the property of the accused person, while the money in question was earned by the couple jointly. According to the Civil Code, the property acquired by one spouse belongs to both spouses in equal shares.

Yashina is demanding her "spousal share" because she needs money to pay for an urgent surgical operation on her husband's eyes, her lawyer Andrei Andrusenko told Interfax on Tuesday.

FSB representatives told the Meschansky district court on Tuesday that the FSB has charged Babkin for almost 27 million rubles ($900,000) in damages for allegedly selling secret documents. The representatives asked for a postponement on hearings into Yashina's complaint until the court's decision on Babkin, Interfax said.

The court recessed Tuesday until March 13.

Yashina has a good chance of winning her suit, an expert from the Moscow Lawyers Collegium said Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

"Even if the court convicts Babkin and decides to confiscate his property for the damage he incurred, Yashina will be eligible to have her own half of the common property returned," he said.

The FSB has completed its investigation into Babkin, who was the key witness in Pope's prosecution, Interfax reported. Babkin was detained in April 2000 and is now reading his own criminal case.

Pope was sentenced to 20 years behind bars in December 2000 for espionage and was pardoned by President Vladimir Putin after one week.