LONDON — A Russian woman working in the British parliament is to be deported after security services arrested her on suspicion of espionage, The Sunday Times reported.
Britain’s domestic intelligence service MI5 decided that Katia Zatuliveter, 25, who works for Mike Hancock, a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Commons defense select committee, was secretly working for the Russian intelligence service as a “sleeper”, the paper reported.
The arrest is believed to be the first time since the end of the Cold War that someone working in parliament has been accused of spying for Russia.
The newspaper said MI5 believes the attractive Zatuliveter was deliberately targeting Hancock, 64, who has a strong interest in Russia.
Hancock dismissed allegations that his assistant was a spy.
“She is not a Russian spy. I know nothing about espionage, but she has been subjected to a deportation order. She is appealing it, because she feels — quite rightly — that she has done nothing wrong,” he told the Press Association.
A spokesman for the Home Office, or interior ministry, said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”
Zatuliveter, who underwent security vetting before taking up her job, was arrested by police and immigration officials last week and is being held at a secure facility awaiting deportation to Russia.
The move to deport her comes after she was stopped while re-entering Britain at London’s Gatwick airport in August. Before releasing her, security officials questioned her in depth about her work for Hancock, the report said.
A source told The Sunday Times: “Her presence here is not considered to be conducive to national security. There was unhappiness about what she could have access to. The intention is to show her the door.”
The report said the lawmaker employed Zatuliveter after meeting her in Strasbourg, where he often travels on business as a member of the parliamentary forum of the Council of Europe.
The deportation could place further strain on Britain’s diplomatic relations with Russia, which are only just emerging from an icy period after the murder by poisoning of the dissident Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.
Trump will turn to these secret weapons in desperation if the economy collapses before the 2020 election
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Pakistan PM Imran Khan calls on world to pay attention to India’s ‘fascist, racist Hindu supremacist ideology and leadership’
Indian PM Narendra Modi reportedly rejected the comparison in a Monday phone conversation with US President Donald Trump
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"India has been captured, as Germany had been captured by Nazis, by a fascist, racist Hindu Supremacist ideology and leadership," tweeted Khan. "This threatens 9 million Kashmiris under siege in [India-Occupied Kashmir] for over two weeks which should have sent alarm bells ringing across the world with U.N. Observers being sent there."
RNC’s Ronna McDaniels scorched for calling Elizabeth Warren a ‘liar’: ‘Every word Trump utters is a lie’
The Republican National Committee chairwoman faced swift backlash for calling Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) a liar for claiming Native American ancestry.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly slurred Warren as "Pocahontas" to mock claims about her background, and the Democratic presidential candidate apologized Monday to Native American tribal leaders for any harm she had caused by promoting DNA test results to prove native ancestry generations ago.
RNC chair Ronna McDaniel gleefully mocked the Democratic presidential candidate.
Elizabeth Warren by the numbers: