The best Russian spy for 30 years: Ex-KGB man's verdict on blonde accused of 'honeytrap' affair with Lib Dem Hancock
- The 73-year-old double agent hails 'heroine'
- Miss Zatuliveter facing deportation from Britain
Suspected: Former parliamentary researcher Katia Zatuliveter, 26, has been accused of being a Russian spy
The Russian blonde who denies allegations she was a secret agent ordered by Moscow to seduce a British MP is the best Russian spy for 30 years, a KGB defector said yesterday.
Katia Zatuliveter, 26, rejects claims that she spied for Moscow while ‘directed’ to have affairs with Lib Dem Mike Hancock, 65, for whom she was a researcher, and a senior Nato official.
She is fighting against her deportation from Britain at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.
But Oleg Gordievsky, 72, a colonel who ran the KGB bureau in London and was among the most senior Russian spies to defect, told the Daily Mail that Miss Zatuliveter was a ‘very conscientious worker’ for the Russian Intelligence Services who passed them ‘the most important military secrets’.
‘She caused more damage than all other KGB agents put together,’ he claimed. ‘She was the strongest and most useful KGB agent for the last 30 years.’
He said she was far more effective than Anna Chapman, who was deported from the U.S. with nine other members of a spy ring last year.
Asked about the significance of the Zatuliveter case, Mr Gordievsky told a Russian radio station: ‘It is big. For four years she has been making copies of military documents and bringing them to the [Russian] embassy. I believe she will be sent out of Britain.’
His comments contradict Mr Hancock’s insistence that, despite his position on the Defence Select Committee, he never let his lover and parliamentary aide see any classified or sensitive papers. Miss Zatuliveter herself denies causing any damage to Britain or its interests.
Centre of controversy: Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock was having an affair with Katia Zatuliveter
Mr Hancock’s Portsmouth South constituency is in the town which is home to two-thirds of the Royal Navy’s fleet. As a member of the defence committee from 1999 until he resigned last week, he scrutinised the workings of the Ministry of Defence. As well as affairs with Mr Hancock and a Nato chief identified as ‘Y’, Miss Zatuliveter had affairs with ‘a dishy Dutch diplomat’ in 2004 and a senior United Nations official.
Oleg Gordievsky, formerly a senior Soviet spy who defected to Britain in 1985, at Buckingham Palace in 2007 after collecting his CMG
Mr Gordievsky told Radio Svoboda: ‘Katia Zatuliveter worked flat out, and was getting results.
‘Imagine that for four years she has been gathering information and delivering it to the embassy. She is a heroine, unlike Chapman, who is just some spoilt girl, of no interest at all.’
Asked why Britain was not charging her with spying under the Official Secrets Act, but merely seeking to deport her, Mr Gordievsky told the radio station she had left no trail. ‘There is no proof,’ he said.
He stood by his comments yesterday and told the Mail: ‘She sacrificed her body and so on for four years.’
He added: ‘Each visit was recorded. I think that is the evidence against her.’
The MI5 case against Miss Zatuliveter was heard in secret yesterday and on Friday because it was deemed too sensitive for her and her barrister to hear. A security-vetted ‘Special Advocate’ was appointed to represent her.
Mr Gordievsky, considered Britain’s greatest double agent, had his cover blown in 1985 and was taken back to Russia by the KGB to be questioned. But he later escaped across the Finnish border.
Miss Zatuliveter’s legal team declined to comment on Mr Gordievsky’s claims.
'Effective spy': A photo apparently showing Russian researcher Ekaterina in a bar with Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock