- Foreign secretary pictured meeting Russian ‘diplomat’ suspected to be intelligence agent.
- Sergey Nalobin described Johnson as a “good friend.”
- Johnson has also been pictured with another suspected Russia agent.
- Sources close to Johnson deny he is close with Nalobin.
- Revelations follow allegations about links between a former Czech spy and the Labour leadership.
LONDON – For the past week, the press has been full of stories about alleged links between the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, other senior party figures, and a former Czech spy.
Corbyn has since been branded a “collaborator” on the front page of the Daily Mail, with the Conservative defence secretary Gavin Williamson saying that the alleged meetings between Corbyn and the spy were a “betrayal of this country” and showed that the Labour leader “can’t be trusted.”
Corbyn and other Labour MPs have strenuously denied the claims. However, since the story broke, evidence of links between Russian agents and a very senior member of the current Conservative government have now emerged.
Over the weekend, bloggers dug up a now-deleted tweet sent by suspected Russian agent Sergey Nalobin, picturing him standing alongside what he described as his “good friend” the foreign secretary Boris Johnson.
So who is Nalobin? Well, he was a key figure in the reported Russian programme to deepen the “co-operation” between senior Conservative politicians and the Russian government under the umbrella of the Conservative Friends of Russia group.
“Sergey Nalobin, has family ties to Russia’s intelligence agencies. His father, Nikolai Nalobin, is a former KGB general. Nalobin Sr worked in a top role with the FSB, the successor to the KGB, which the government believes was involved in the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. Litvinenko’s widow Marina said General Nalobin was her husband’s boss in the 1990s when Litvinenko was an FSB agent.
“Sergey Nalobin’s brother also worked for the FSB, according to the Russian press. Vladimir Putin, a former KGB spy, was head of the FSB before becoming Russian president in 2000.
“Sources suggest it was Sergey Nalobin who invited Richard Royal, the chairman of Conservative Friends of Russia, and other members, to visit Moscow and St Petersburg in September on a 10-day trip paid for by the Russian government. The diplomat also set up meetings there with politicians from Putin’s United Russia and other Kremlin-approved parties. Nalobin also arranged the launch event in the ambassador’s Kensington garden and is pictured under the organisation’s banner.”
Johnson’s association with suspected Russian spies does not end there. Last year a photo emerged of Johnson meeting with Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic with alleged high-level links to the Putin regime.
Johnson initially denied meeting Mifsud, until photo evidence later emerged, after which his spokesperson said that he had never “knowingly” met him.
So what exactly are Johnson’s connections to Russian agents and does his meeting with them throw his own judgement into question?
Business Insider asked a spokesman for Johnson to comment but did not received a response.
However, a source close to the foreign secretary told Business Insider that Johnson “meets hundreds of people at numerous events he attends every month. He does not remember meeting Mr Nalobin and would not describe him as a friend.”
Asked about Johnson’s meetings with the Russian figures, on Monday, a spokesperson for the prime minister told BI that they “having to add to that” on the matter. When asked whether the prime minister was confident that her ministers had not had meetings with Russian agents, they replied that: “I have nothing to suggest otherwise”.
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