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Russian spies plead guilty

NEW YORK, July 8 (UPI) -- Ten accused Russian spies Thursday pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in New York, opening the way for a prisoner exchange with Russia.

The 10 appeared in U.S. District Court in Manhattan before Judge Kimba M. Wood. An 11th suspect was still at large after disappearing once he was released on bail on Cyprus.

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The Washington Post quoted a source as saying the 10 could be sent to Russia later in the day in a prisoner exchange involving a Russian scientist who had been imprisoned since 1999 for allegedly passing secrets to a British company believed to be a front for the CIA.

A spokesman for Igor Sutyagin, Ernst Chyorny, said Sutyagin is believed to have been taken to Vienna, The New York Times reported. Family members, however, said they had yet to hear from him.

Neither U.S. nor Russian officials would confirm an exchange is in the works -- the first in 24 years. An attorney for one of the spies, Anna Chapman, told ABC his client is just "happy to get out of jail" and may move to Britain after first being sent to Russia.

ABC quoted Chapman's mother, Irina Kushenko, as saying her daughter would arrive in Moscow by noon Friday.

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Peter Krupp, who represents suspect Donald Heathfield, said he expects his client to fly to Moscow at 7 p.m. but would not comment on reports out of Boston that Heathfield's children already are in Russia.

The 10 were accused of acting as unregistered foreign agents but not accused of passing any valuable information.

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