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Russian parliamentary 'spy' denies accusations, wants to stay in Britain

RIA Novosti

16:56 24/12/2010

LONDON, December 24 (RIA Novosti) - Katia Zatuliveter officially denied accusations of using her position as a British lawmaker's aide to spy for Russia and said she was going to stay in Britain to clear her name, her lawyers said on Friday.

"I have never worked for the Russian intelligence services. I do not why I was given a deportation order, but I intend to remain in the United Kingdom and fight to restore my reputation," Zatuliveter was quoted as saying in a lawyers' statement.

The 25-year-old Russian, an aide to Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock who sits on the influential Defense Select Committee, was arrested on December 2. She was released on bail on December 13.

It was initially reported that Zatuliveter was suspected of links to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), but later Britain informed Russia that the Dagestan-born parliamentary aide was detained on charges of violating immigration laws.

Britain's secret service, MI5, said Zatuliveter had access to classified documents supplied to the committee. Hancock recently initiated parliamentary questions about Britain's nuclear deterrent and the location of its international submarine bases. Hancock has denied Zatuliveter is a spy.

Russia's charge d'affaires in London, Alexander Sternik, called the charges of espionage "a PR stunt" designed to detract public attention at the moment when England lost its chance to host 2018 World Cup to Russia and WikiLeaks published its revelatory cables.

Britain expelled a Russian diplomat from the Russian embassy in London earlier this week, and Russia retaliated with a similar expulsion from the British Embassy in Moscow.

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