Sunday 24 September 2017

Russian spy ring in US wanted their children to be agents

Tom Parfitt in Moscow

Members of a Russian espionage ring in the United States planned to groom their children as spies, it has been claimed.

Tim Foley, who was 20 when his parents were arrested for being members of the ring, had already agreed to take up their espionage work, current and former US officials have said.

Ten Russian agents who were detained in the US in 2010 and convicted of acting illegally as agents of a foreign government. They were later exchanged in a "spy-swap" for four men who had been imprisoned in Russia for alleged spying.

Among the Russian spies was Anna Chapman, a glamorous 28-year-old who had previously lived in London, been married to a British man and worked at Barclays Bank. She did not have children, but between them the other Russian agents had seven offspring aged between one and 20.

Donald Heathfield and Tracey Foley, the assumed names of Russians Andrei Bezrukov and Yelena Vavilova, had told their son Tim they were involved in spying for Moscow.

The FBI had known about the spy ring for a decade and the spies' homes were bugged. According to US officials, Mr Foley, stood up and saluted "Mother Russia" when asked to follow in his parents' footsteps. The officials said that surveillance suggested there was a longer-term plan to recruit more of the group's children.

A lawyer for Mr Heathfield dismissed the allegations. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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