Russians `spied on City'

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The Independent Online
RUSSIAN SPIES have infiltrated City of London banks and finance houses in a campaign of economic espionage against Britain, an MI6 agent has alleged.

The unnamed agent claims a Russian security organisation, the SVR, which succeeded the KGB, has infiltrated Barclays Bank and the London gold and metals markets, according to a Sunday newspaper.

The source of the allegations is not thought to have worked as an MI6 officer, though he may have been a paid agent. The report said he was not born in Britain, suggesting he may have strong links with Russia. Last night sources suggested the claims were unlikely to cause as much disquiet as revelations from two former full-time MI6 officers, David Shayler and Richard Tomlinson. A Foreign Office spokesman said last night that it did not comment on intelligence matters, and it was unclear whether any prosecution might be brought against the agent. The MI6 agent's claims follow disclosures by Oleg Gordievsky, the former KGB officer and double agent, that computer experts from the Eastern European state are using hacking techniques to search British computers.

Mr Gordievsky, who defected to Britain in 1985 after 11 years as a double agent for MI6, said there are currently about 30 Russian agents - from both the civilian SVR and military GRU intelligence services - operating in London.