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He's got another legal headache. Felix Bloch, the former United States diplomat to Austria who was once investigated on allegations of spying for the Soviet Union, has pleaded guilty to shoplifting aspirin and other merchandise at a pharmacy in No rth Carolina.

Bloch was given a 30-day suspended sentence and fined $100 (£66) for stealing $21 in goods from the shop in Chapel Hill, where he is a bus driver. He was a career diplomat in 1989 when he was accused of passing classified information to the Russians while serving as deputy chief of the US embassy in Vienna. Bloch had been videotaped handing a briefcase to a Soviet agent.

He denied the allegations and the government eventually decided there as insufficient evidence to indict. Bloch was dismissed in November 1990 and denied his pension for allegedly making "deliberate false statements or misrepresentations to the FBI".

The shoplifting conviction was Bloch's first, although he was arrested on the same charge in 1993, when he was accused of stealing from a shop in which he worked packing groceries. The charge was dropped after he performed community service.