Photo: AFP/Carl Court
Well this is kind of embarrassing.The British secret service, MI5, has failed to convince a UK court that Ekaterina Zatuliveter, former aide and lover to Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock, is a Russian spy — despite the backing of Home Secretary Theresa May.
The Guardian reports that the government and the secret services will be even more embarrassed by the fact that the court, the immigration appeals commission, included a former head of MI5.
The trial has proved hugely embarrassing for everyone involved already in fact, revealing that Zatuliveter had been sleeping with multiple European officials (including one that tried to pay her afterwards as he thought she was a prostitute) and casting suspicion on Hancock’s pro-Kremlin views (more on that HERE).
But let’s just think of the two possibilities that this trial appears to allow:
- Zatuliveter is a spy, but despite knowing that, MI5 cannot get her to leave the country. She has already been in the country for a number of years with access to confidential information, and background checks to prevent her working for an MP failed. She can stay until August of next year when her visa runs out, and then she can apply for another one.
- Zatuliveter is not a spy, and just a normal young Russian girl who took up the opportunity of a lifetime and possibly made some questionable decisions in her love-life. MI5 just made her a public figure of fun for the UK tabloids, which then revealed way too much about an important MP’s private life, and pissed off Russia at a bad time to boot.
So, all in all, very embarrassing.
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