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'I just want to sell houses -- not my story'

Anna Chapman's lawyer dismissed claims she is being held by the Russian secret services.

He insists the red-headed spy is spending time with her family and trying to restart her property business.

Russian media have speculated that Ms Chapman, along with the other nine spies deported from the US earlier this month, are being held in a secret facility belonging to the SVR, Russia's external intelligence agency, at Yasenevo in southern Moscow. Sources in the SVR said they are being interrogated and debriefed there by SVR agents.

However, Robert Baum, who acted as Ms Chapman's lawyer in the US and says he is still in regular contact with her, claimed the 28-year-old has had very little contact with the Russian government since her return to Moscow, and that her energies were focused on her business career.



Stripped

He also said Ms Chapman was "particularly upset" at being stripped of her British citizenship. "It was disappointing to learn she can't go back," he said. Ms Chapman gained her British passport through a marriage to Alex Chapman who, when the spy scandal broke, provided naked photos of her to several tabloid newspapers.

The lawyer also denied that Ms Chapman was planning to sell her story. "She has not been shopping her story. She's not granted any interviews. She has not hired an agent," said Mr Baum.

This is at odds with messages sent to journalists from Ms Chapman, or someone pretending to be her and using her Facebook account. Several Russian and international journalists who have sent questions and interview requests to Ms Chapman's account on the website have been sent a response asking them to make bids. A clause in Ms Chapman's plea agreement forbids her from making money from selling her story in book or film form, but it is unclear how this would be enforced outside the US.

And Hollywood's appetite for her tale is undoubted. Angelina Jolie, who will be in Moscow this weekend for the Russian premiere of her new film Salt, has invited Ms Chapman to attend the opening and says she would love to meet the spy.

In the film, Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, a CIA officer accused of spying for Russia. It is unclear whether Ms Chapman will be able or willing to attend the premiere. She has also received offers to appear in adult films.

hnews@herald.ie


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