A 25-year-old parliamentary aide was arrested by British authorities on Thursday, and currently faces deportation. For spying! Yes, only a few months after it was cool to have a sexy Russian sleeper agent, the U.K. finally gets their own.
Katia Zatuliveter, an assistant to Liberal Democrat M.P. Mike Hancock, was first flagged by authorities in August on return from a trip to Croatia, and interviewed by police "four or five times since." On Thursday, she was arrested on the order of MI5, the British intelligence service, and accused of spying for Russia. Almost like America's favorite spy babe, Anna Champman! Except that Zatuliveter actually worked for the government.
Zatuliveter is originally from Dagestan, but left as a child thanks to the conflict in Chechnya. She moved to Britain three years ago and got her masters at Bradford University. According to the Daily Mail, citing government sources, Hancock—who works on the "Russia group" in the UK parliament—first met her "on one of his regular visits" to Russia, and gave her a job soon after. (Various people have been quoted accusing Hancock of, essentially, being suspiciously close to Russia.)
Hancock vociferously defending her. And everyone else is being nice and catty. Even the Russians!:
- The Daily Mail: One Westminster source said: ‘She would walk around in very short skirts and high heels with Hancock and they would be seen having lunch together. Certainly some thought she was charming and intelligent.'
- The Guardian: But while other delegates from the council's parliamentary assembly turned up alone, Hancock typically appeared with a glamorous young Russian woman, colleagues said. Sometimes he even brought two. "They were all the same type: long-legged, good-looking blondes, never older than 25, fluent in French, English and often German, and with a higher education," Mátyás Eörsi, the former head of the European liberal group, which includes Nick Clegg's Lib Dems, said today.
- The Telegraph: But the media in Moscow claimed that the authorities were simply angry over England losing out to Russia in the bid to host the 2018 World Cup. "This all looks like petty revenge on Russia for the football," said Komsomolskaya Pravda.
Nothing like an international spy scandal to bring out the best in everyone, right?