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Report: Russian 'Spy' Found In British Parliament

British parliamentarian Mike Hancock

British parliamentarian Mike Hancock

A Russian woman working as an aide to a British parliamentarian is facing deportation after security services arrested her on suspicion of espionage.

The woman -- identified as 25-year-old Katia Zatuliveter -- reportedly works for Mike Hancock, a Liberal Democratic member of the British parliament's defense select committee.

Britain's domestic intelligence service MI5 believes that Zatuliveter was secretly working for the Russian intelligence service, "The Sunday Times" newspaper reports.

Zatuliveter's presence in Britain was not "conducive to national security," the newspaper quotes unnamed security sources as saying. "There was unhappiness about what she could have access to. The intention is to show her the door."

Hancock confirms his aide has been subjected to a deportation order, but he denies allegations that Zatuliveter is a spy.

"She is appealing it, because she feels quite rightly that she has done nothing wrong," Sky News quotes Hancock as saying.

Britain's Home Office, or Interior Ministry, says it does not routinely comment on individual cases.

MI5 reportedly believes Zatuliveter had deliberately targeted Hancock, who has a strong interest in Russia.

The 64-year-old parliamentarian from Portsmouth hired Zatuliveter after they met in Strasbourg, media reports say. Hancock, who is a member of the parliamentary forum of the Council of Europe, frequently travels to Strasbourg.

Zatuliveter reportedly underwent security vetting before taking up her job with Hancock.

According to earlier reports by British newspapers, Zatuliveter was stopped and questioned by officials while reentering the country at London's Gatwick airport in August.

British media suggest it is the first time since the end of the Cold War that someone working for the British parliament has been accused of being a Russian spy.

Earlier this year, 28-year-old Anna Chapman was stripped of her British citizenship after U.S. officials deported her to Russia in connection with espionage charges. The Russian-born Chapman had acquired a British passport after marrying a Briton in London.

compiled from agency reports