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10 held on spy charges

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NEW YORK – They sometimes worked in pairs and pretended to be married so they could blend in as the couple next door as they worked as spies in a throwback to the Cold War with fake identities, invisible ink, coded radio transmissions and encrypted data to avoid detection, authorities say.Assistant United States attorney Michael Farbiarz, speaking Monday in federal court in Manhattan, called the allegations against ten people living in the Northeast “the tip of the iceberg” of a conspiracy of Russia’s intelligence service, the SVR, to collect inside United States information, the biggest such bust in recent years.Each of the ten was charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the United States attorney general, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison upon conviction. Two criminal complaints outlining the charges were filed in the United States District Court for the southern district of New York.Police said Monday that an 11th defendant, a man accused of delivering money to the agents, remained at large. A police spokesman in Cyprus said yesterday that 54-year-old Christopher Robert Metsos, a Canadian citizen wanted by United States authorities on suspicion of espionage and money laundering, was arrested in the morning at Larnaca airport while trying to fly to Budapest, Hungary.Russia angrily denounced the arrests as an unjustified throwback to the Cold War, and senior lawmakers said some in the United States government may be trying to undercut President Barack Obama’s warming relations with Moscow. (AP)