The British authorities are investigating a glamorous alleged Russian spy's links to the UK, it emerged today.
Flame-haired entrepreneur Anna Chapman, 28, is one of 11 people accused by the United States of working as secret agents for Russia's intelligence service, the SVR.
Details have emerged of how she spent time working in London and may even have a British ex-husband.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) confirmed it was looking into her connections to Britain.
But it refused to comment on whether it was investigating the possibility that Chapman spied against the UK while living here.
An FCO spokesman said: "This is primarily a matter for the US authorities, but of course we will ensure we look into any suggested British links.
"As we said yesterday, we will be investigating this fully with the US.
"We are establishing the facts so it would be wrong to comment further at this stage. We are also not going to comment on any specific individuals."
The FCO said it could not comment on whether the Government had discussed the case with their Russian counterparts.
Chapman, who was arrested in New York on Monday, states on her profile on the professional networking website LinkedIn that she worked in London between 2003 and 2007.
Private aircraft hire firm NetJets Europe confirmed she was employed in its London office as an executive assistant in the sales department from May to July 2004.
Chapman also claimed she worked in the investment banking division at Barclays Bank from August 2004 to July 2005, but the company said it had no record of her employment at that time.
She is said to have a masters degree in economics, an expensive flat in New York's financial district and a successful online estate agency.
Media in Russia reported that she was the daughter of a Russian diplomat and married a British man whose father was a director of French supermarket chain Auchan, which has many stores in Russia.
Chapman's mother, Irina Kushchenko, who lives in western Moscow, said she was convinced her daughter was not guilty, telling the Associated Press: "Of course I believe that she's innocent."
Another of the alleged Russian agents arrested by US officials in Monday's raids was Tracey Lee Ann Foley, who is accused of travelling on a fake British passport.
The FCO said it was investigating the matter but remained confident that the British passport was "one of the most secure documents of its kind".
Officials in Dublin are also looking into claims that a false Irish passport was to be used by a member of the alleged spy ring.
Members of the alleged ring were said to have sent information from America back to the Kremlin in a plot that could have come straight out of a James Bond novel.
US court papers lift the lid on techniques such as a new high-tech spy-to-spy communications system allegedly used by the defendants: short-range wireless communications between laptop computers - a modern supplement for the old-style dead drop in a remote area - and high-speed burst radio transmission.
The arrests come following efforts to thaw US-Russian diplomatic relations.
Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said: "They haven't explained to us what this is about.
"I hope they will. The only thing I can say today is that the moment for doing that has been chosen with special elegance."
Ten people were arrested in the United States on Monday.
As well as Chapman, Richard Murphy and Cynthia Murphy were held at their home in Montclair, New Jersey; Vicky Pelaez and Juan Lazaro at their home in Yonkers, New York; Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills at their home in Arlington, Virginia; Mikhail Semenko at his home in Arlington; and Donald Heathfield and Foley in Boston.
They are all accused of conspiracy to act as unlawful agents of a foreign government. Eight also face a charge of conspiracy to launder money.
An 11th suspect, Christopher R Metsos, was arrested in Cyprus.Reuse content