Tuesday 24 April 2018

UK expels Russian spy 'after losing World Cup bid'

Mike Hancock: Lib Dem member. Photo: PA
Mike Hancock: Lib Dem member. Photo: PA

Andrew Osborn in London

A suspected Russian spy arrested by British security services while working for an MP was being deported in revenge for England losing its bid to stage the World Cup, Russian media suggested yesterday

Ekaterina Zatuliveter, who worked as a researcher for Mike Hancock, a Lib Dem member of the defence select committee, was arrested and served with a deportation order on the grounds of national security.

'The Daily Telegraph' understands that MI5 had been investigating her for more than six months following concerns that Ms Zatuliveter (25) whose father was a well-connected Russian businessman, had access to confidential documents supplied to the committee.

She was accused of using her position to try to gain sensitive material from the government, after questions were tabled from Mr Hancock's office requesting an inventory of Britain's nuclear arsenal and the location of its international submarine bases.

But the media in Moscow claimed that the authorities were simply angry over England losing out to Russia in the bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

"This all looks like petty revenge on Russia for the football," said 'Komsomolskaya Pravda'.

A senior source from Russia's FSB security service quoted in another paper said: "The situation is incomprehensible. They arrest an alleged agent. But judging from their announcements, she wasn't working against Britain.

"So why deport her with such fuss? It could have all been done quietly without attracting attention. They (just) want to announce a big victory over Russian spies."

Despite the claims, MI5 was convinced that it had achieved a notable success.

Ms Zatuliveter had studied for a master's degree at the University of Bradford before being cleared to work at the House of Commons, but suspicions grew within the security services that she was attempting to pass on secret information. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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