Katia Zatuliveter denies Russian spy claims
Lib Dem MP’s assistant says she is appealing against a deportation order
Katia Zatuliveter has spoken out against claims she is a Russian spy from the immigration remand centre where she is being held pending her deportation.
Zatuliveter, an assistant to the Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock (above), was arrested early on Thursday morning after an investigation by MI5 concluded she was a risk to national security.
Hancock sits on the defence select committee and was chair of the parliamentary all-party Russia group until he was removed by Labour MP Chris Bryant after concerns were raised that he was excessively supportive of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin. He is also a member of the Council of Europe.
Zatuliveter fell under suspicion apparently because she had applied to work for an MP with a known interest in the UK’s nuclear deterrent and a predisposition to Russia whose constituency, Portsmouth South, is home to a naval base. She is suspected of being behind recent questions asked by Hancock’s office about the location of British nuclear submarine berths and nuclear missiles.
There is no suggestion that Hancock himself has behaved inappropriately.
Zatuliveter told the Daily Telegraph, via email, that “nobody explained to me the reason of the deportation” and says she is appealing. As for the accusations that she is a Russian spy, she says: “No, there is no truth in this suggestion.”
Hancock is backing Zatuliveter to the hilt. He has assembled a legal team and says Zatuliveter will meet them today. He insists there was nothing “dodgy” about her recruitment for the job of his assistant, saying: “She was security checked and it took about two months for her House of Commons pass to come through.” ·
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