Call him the 12th man: but this one was unusual, because according to the US authorities, Alexey Karetnikov – who was deported to Russia as part of the "spy ring" earlier this week – was working for Microsoft.
According to details released by the US, Karetnikov entered the US in October and had been living in Redmond, the city in the north-eastern state of Washington where the software giant Microsoft has its headquarters – and according to his Facebook page, he was working for Microsoft and for Neobit, a Romanian-based software company.
The US Department of Homeland Security said the suspect was "just in the early stages; had just set up shop" when he was detained in the sweep that led to the biggest spy swap since the Cold War.
Karetnikov, a Russian citizen in his early- to mid-20s, was held over immigration violations in the absence of enough evidence to charge him with a crime. But he had been monitored almost as soon as he arrived in the US, and the DHS was confident that he obtained "absolutely no [useful] information".
At a court hearing on Monday, the Russian admitted being illegally present and agreed to the deportation in lieu of further court proceedings.
Microsoft said it was looking into questions about Karetnikov, but had no further information.
It is unclear whether Karetnikov was part of the same spy ring that included Anna Chapman, who was based in the country's capital. One official told the Washington Post that Karetnikov had obtained a job in the US and was "just doing the things he needed to do to establish cover".