Friday, July 2, 2010

MI5 Investigates Activities of Russian 'Spies' in Britain

Via -

MI5 is investigating the extent to which two of the alleged spies accused of involvement in the Russian espionage ring had contacts in the UK and whether they attempted to recruit British officials as informants.

The agency is scrutinising the activities of Anna Chapman, who has British citizenship and a British passport, and Tracey Lee Ann Foley, who allegedly used a forged British passport prepared for her by Russia's SVR intelligence service.

Chapman, 28, moved to London in 2002 and had a series of jobs including six months working for the small business banking division of Barclays and stints with a hedge fund called Navigator Asset Management and a private aviation company, NetJets Europe.

MI5 is attempting to verify the details of Chapman's time in London including her contacts in the business community, whether she handled the accounts of wealthy individuals and her appearances at glitzy nightclubs.

Anna Kushchenko – as she was then known – met a British man, Alex Chapman, in a London nightclub and the couple married five months later in Moscow in 2002. They divorced four years later but remained in touch. Marriage to a British citizen and three years' residence in the UK enabled Chapman to obtain a British passport.


lex Chapman, a 30-year-old trainee psychologist from Bournemouth, was interviewed by MI5 on Wednesday. He said he was not surprised that his ex-wife had been arrested on suspicion of spying. "Towards the end of our marriage she became very secretive, going for meetings on her own with 'Russian friends', and I guess it might have been because she was in contact with the Russian government," he told the Telegraph. He also said that his ex-wife's father, Vasily Kushchenko, was a "high-ranking" officer in the Russian security forces who "controlled everything in her life". As part of its investigation, MI5 is thought to be looking at whether Chapman was recruited to work for Russia's security agencies by her father.

Chapman moved back to Russia in 2006 when her marriage ended and relocated to the US in 2007 to set up an online property venture. The company struggled until 2009, when her ex-husband said someone "pumped a lot of money into it" and it took off. Alex Chapman also said his ex-wife had disliked Americans until she met a rich US citizen who took her to the States and she came back loving the country.

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