British investigate spy suspect Chapman

July 2, 2010 at 11:18 AM
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LONDON, July 2 (UPI) -- Britain's espionage leaders investigated whether a former Russian agent recruited his daughter as a spy while living in London, The Daily Telegraph reported.

An MI5 officer interviewed the former husband of Anna Chapman, accused of spying for Russia in the United States, the newspaper reported Thursday. MI5 is trying to learn whether Chapman, who is a British citizen and holds a British passport, could have spied on Britain or was recruited in Britain.,

The former husband, 30-year-old Alex Chapman, married the then-Anna Kushchenko in Moscow in 2002. They divorced in 2006 but have stayed in touch, the newspaper reported.

Chapman said his wife told him her father, Vasily Kushchenko, "had been high up in the ranks of the KGB. She said he had been an agent in 'old Russia,'" who controlled "everything" in her life.

When he learned his former wife was arrested on suspicion of espionage, Chapman said he wasn't surprised. She has been denied bail and has her next hearing July 27.

"Towards the end of our marriage she became very secretive, going for meetings on her own with Russian friends, and I guess it might have been because she was in contact with the Russian government," he said.

Chapman told the Telegraph an MI5 official visited him Wednesday, following the arrest last weekend of his ex-wife and nine others suspects accused of being part of a spy ring in the United States.

"The officer told me she would need everything and I told her what I knew," he said. "It's just totally weird to think that my ex-wife could be involved in something like this."

British authorities are believed to be investigating whether Anna Chapman handled accounts of wealthy individuals, the Telegraph said, and whether any security implications for Britain could arise.

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