In Brief

Beware of Russian honeytraps, MI5 tells UK business

Handbook warns of blackmail danger amid talk of a new Cold War

British businessmen have been warned not to get caught in so-called ‘honeytraps’ when working in Russia and China, amid talk of a new Cold War between East and West.

MI5 has given a handbook to some of the UK’s biggest firms warning that getting drunk, gambling or womanising could result in them being targeted by foreign security agencies, The Mail on Sunday reports.

The Smart Traveller booklet warns against “risky business” and lists “inappropriate activities” including substance abuse, excessive drinking, gambling, changing money on the black market and “flirtatious liaisons” that could leave staff open to blackmail.

Russia has a long history or using women to entrap western businessmen, politicians and high-profile figures. According to The Sunday Telegraph, BBC journalist John Simpson was targeted by a Czech spy during the Cold War, while Russian spy Anna Chapman was married to a British man and is said to have been on the brink of seducing a US congressman before her arrest.

The MI5 booklet suggests a number of measures businessmen working overseas should adopt to avoid being compromised. These include keeping electronic items in hand luggage so that they cannot be tampered with, turning off location services and avoiding public Wi-Fi.

It also tells travellers not to trust a hotel safe, to vary their daily routine and not to discuss sensitive matters in public places such as lifts or trains.

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