Russian woman who had affair with Lib Dem MP 'was not a spy'

 

Ekaterina Zatuliveter was in Gatwick Airport in August last year, on her way back from a birthday party in Croatia, when her path first crossed that of the UK's security services.

At her flat was a diary detailing her relationships and affairs with several European diplomats, and the Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock. MI5 believed she was a spy, sending information back to Moscow gleaned from her role as researcher for Mr Hancock, a member of the Defence Select Committee.

But after a year-and-a-half of an intense and humiliating legal dispute, the 26- year- old Russian was told that she was not a spy, after all. Having faced deportation, Ms Zatuliveter is now at liberty to remain in the UK. After the hearing, she said she was "very happy" but was prevented from speaking further by a minder from the South West News Service, which covers Mr Hancock's Portsmouth constituency, amid speculation she is to sell her story to a newspaper.

A panel of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which included the former MI5 director general Sir Stephen Lander, ruled that suspicions about Katia Zatuliveter passing on secrets while working for Mr Hancock had been reasonably held but were wrong.

In a hearing in October Ms Zatuliveter put her case in open court, while the Home Secretary Theresa May and other security officials made their submissions behind closed doors, preventing Ms Zatuliveter from knowing the details of the case against her. After the verdict her solicitor, Tessa Gregory, said her client had been living a "Kafkaesque nightmare" for the last year. "Our security service is supposed to be responsible for protecting us against serious threats.

"It is therefore extremely worrying that they have chosen to waste their time, at great public expense, needlessly and unfairly pursuing an innocent young woman. Their case was built entirely on speculation, prejudice and conjecture. It was amateur and poorly researched." The tribunal heard how she first met the 65-year-old MP at an an inter-parliamentary conference on Russia's relations with the EU and Nato in 2006, and began a four-year affair with him shortly after. It was only on her arrest in December 2010 that she learnt he was still married.

The tribunal also heard details of three other relationships with European diplomats, among them a Dutch diplomat and a Serbian.

The Home Office said it was disappointed with the ruling.

Spooks: What they did next

Kim Philby One of the "Cambridge Five", Philby escaped to the Soviet Union in 1963 after he was exposed as feeding information to the Russians from his senior role in the British intelligence. Received a hero's funeral in Moscow in 1988.

Anna Chapman Arrested along with nine other Russians in New York last June, and pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government. She was repatriated to Moscow, and his since posed in her underwear for Maxim magazine.

Sergei Skripal The former Russian officer began working for MI6 in the 1990s, before his conviction in Russia for spying in 2006. He was freed in July last year as part of a spy swap between Russia and the US. The freed American spies flew to the States, but Mr Skripal was dropped off in the UK, and has been living here since then.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Development Manager

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Service and Installation Engineer

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: SEO / Outreach Executive

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a global marketin...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Estimator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?