MI5 investigates as 'femme fatale' found to have links with UK

A glamorous estate agent said to be at the centre of the alleged Russian spy ring was the subject of an urgent investigation in Britain last night, after evidence emerged that she had worked in London before moving to the US.

Anna Chapman, 28, who is one of 11 people accused by the US authorities of posing as suburban professionals while working for Moscow's intelligence service, claims in a profile on an online networking site that she lived in London between 2003 and 2007, working for a number of companies, including Barclays Bank and a private jet leasing firm.

The Foreign Office confirmed that it was investigating the British links of Ms Chapman, whose striking looks, high-flying lifestyle as a real-estate broker with an expensive flat in Manhattan, and many photographs on her Facebook page have made her the focus of much of the media coverage about the apparently inept spy ring.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "This is primarily a matter for the US authorities but of course we will ensure we look into any suggested British links. 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."

MI5 is understood to be trawling its databases to check whether the Russian-born entrepreneur, who is the daughter of a leading diplomat, according to reports in Moscow, could have been working for the SVR, the successor to the KGB, while in Britain.

Ms Chapman does not seem to have led a settled existence in London and exaggerated her achievements in the City on her CV. NetJets Europe, which is part of one of the world's largest executive aircraft hiring firms, confirmed that she had been employed for three months between May and July 2004 at its London office as an assistant in its sales department.

On her CV, she claimed to have worked for the company for a year and was "primarily involved in selling private jets to companies and individuals in Russia". A source at NetJets said Ms Chapman, who has a Master's degree in economics, had been a secretarial worker and had no direct contact with the company's clients.

After leaving NetJets, she joined Barclays, between August 2004 and July 2005. Contrary to her claims to have worked in the bank's investment division, describing how she laboured "as a slave", the company said yesterday that the only Anna Chapman it had employed at that time had worked in its small business unit.

Navigator Asset Management Advisers, a Mayfair-based hedge fund where Ms Chapman claimed to have worked after Barclays, declined to comment yesterday.

Mystery remains over the identity of the alleged spy's British husband, from whom she is reported to have separated after their marriage in 2006. Friends in Moscow suggested that he was the son of a director of French hypermarket chain Auchan, but the company denied the link.

British investigators will also have to establish whether another member of the supposed "deep-cover" espionage team – described by one expert as "more Austin Powers than James Bond" – had travelled using a suspected forged UK passport. Tracey Foley was found with the document when she was arrested in Boston on Monday and is said to have used it to travel to Moscow.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music(who aren't Arctic Monkeys)
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing & PR Assistant - NW London

£15 - £17 per hour: Ashdown Group: Marketing & PR Assistant - Kentish Town are...

Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer

£250 - £300 per day: Orgtel: Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer Berkshir...

Software Developer - Newcastle - £30,000 - £37,000 + benefits

£30000 - £37000 per annum + attractive benefits: Ashdown Group: .NET Developer...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home