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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prosecutors Make Apologies After Spy Charges Dropped

Regional prosecutors have issued an apology to Novosibirsk researcher Oleg Korobeinichev, who was accused -- and then cleared -- of spying for the Pentagon.

The Novosibirsk Regional Prosecutor's Office has sent a letter to Korobeinichev with an official apology and reiteration that all charges against the scientist have been dismissed, regional prosecutor's office spokesman Andrei Zhurikhin said by telephone Tuesday.

Korobeinichev is one of several scientists to have been investigated on suspicion of espionage and divulging state secrets in recent years -- but one of the few to have the charges dismissed.

Novosibirsk informed Korobeinichev in the letter of his right to seek compensation for damages in connection with the charges against him, Zhurikhin said.

"If a court finds that any damage was caused to Korobeinichev, compensation will be paid to him from the state budget," he said.

The Federal Security Service charged Korobeinichev, who has ties with U.S. and European research institutes, with divulging state secrets in March 2006 for purportedly passing on information on the development of new types of solid rocket fuel to the Pentagon.

But in a rare reversal, the agency dropped the charges in May, after which Korobeinichev and his lawyer, Andrei Zhukov, sought an official apology from the FSB's Novosibirsk branch, which spearheaded the investigation.

Zhurikhin said the FSB's regional branch was to issue a statement regarding Korobeinichev's innocence to be distributed to his colleagues at the Institute of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion, part of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Neither Korobeinichev nor Zhukov could be reached for comment Tuesday. But Zhukov told Kommersant that he and his defendant were "satisfied" with having "at last" received an apology from prosecutors.

Zhukov said, however, that he had demanded that the FSB make a public statement about Korobeinichev's innocence, according to an interview published Tuesday in Kommersant.

Calls to the FSB's regional branch for comment went unanswered Tuesday.

Several scientists have been convicted of espionage and illegally exporting technology in Russia, including weapons researcher Igor Sutyagin, physicist Valentin Danilov and Ufa-based physicist Oskar Kaibyshev.