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Ten Russian spies fly home to Moscow - but femme fatale Anna Chapman vows to return to Britain

by 09/07/2010 00:44:00 0 comments 564 Views
Ten Russian spies fly home to Moscow - but femme fatale Anna Chapman vows to return to Britain

 

 

Femme fatale Anna Chapman has vowed to return to Britain after she and her fellow agents admitted spying for Russia and were kicked out of the U.S.

In the biggest spy exchange since the Cold War, the femme fatale and nine accomplices were last night deported to Moscow in exchange for four prisoners being held in Russian jails accused of spying for the West.

But Robert Baum, lawyer for the flamehaired 28-year-old, who spent five years living in London and Bournemouth, said she wants to come back to the UK. She considers Britain her home and misses it.

Moscow bound: A plane transporting the 10 Russian spies who pleaded guilty to being foreign agents, taxies for takeoff at New York's LaGuardia Airport last night

 

A police motorcade carrying the Russian spies speeds to to New York's Laguardia Airport last night

Speaking after the hearing Mr Baum said that Chapman had pleaded guilty because she could not bear the thought of being in jail for six months while waiting for her trial.

He said: ‘When she gets home she plans to spend time with her family who are extremely happy to see her out and back home.

‘She wants to spend some time in the UK as well as Russia.

‘She has lived in the UK for almost seven years and it is somewhere that in her life she called home and she would like to return’.

The ten spies – an 11th is still at large – last night admitted conspiring to act as unlawful agents of the Russian Federation within the United States.

They could have faced up to five years in jail but were sentenced to time already served in jail, meaning they will be effectively free once they touch down in Moscow.

Charges of money laundering carrying up to 20 years, facing some of the agents, were dropped.

From the court they were all due to be taken on a bus to a New York airport where they would be put on the first Russia-bound plane.

Swap? Anna Chapman, left, pleaded guilty in a Manhattan court last night - while Igor Sutyagin is allegedly already in Vienna, where reports claim he has been met by a British officer

Guilty: A courtroom sketch showing all ten of the spies during their hearing in New York

The deal is the largest spy swap since the Cold War and at Manhattan’s Federal Court it emerged that Russian officials had made regular visits to all the spies since they were arrested.

They were swapped for four prisoners being held in Russian jails who are accused of spying for the West, including Britain and the US.

In the two-hour hearing, the defendants spoke only when asked questions and to enter their pleas of guilty.

Each was also asked to outline what they did that constituted a breach of the law. Most admitted openly they were Russian citizens and some gave their real names for the first time.

Armed riot police stalk the perimeter of Moscow's Lefortov prison yesterday , apparently in preparation for a spy swap with the US

 

A wall of the Lefortovo prison, where Igor Sutyagin, a nuclear researcher convicted of spying for West, was transferred yesterday

 

Chapman appeared wearing tan-coloured prison clothes and appeared relaxed, at times laughing and playing with her hair.

When asked by Judge Kimba Wood whether she realised at the time that her actions were criminal, she said: ‘Yes I did, your honour.’

Defendant Richard Murphy acknowledged that from the mid-1990s to the present day, he lived in the US under an assumed name and took directions from the Russian Federation.

Asked whether he knew his actions were a crime, he said: 'I knew they were illegal, yes, your honour.'

Nine of the spies apart from Chapman, and Mikhail Semenko, were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, carrying up to 20 years in jail, but it is understood this will be left on file.

Since arriving in the US Chapman built up an impressive contacts book and was a regular at society parties.

All-American: Cynthia and Richard Murphy, seen here at a typical American 'cook out', convincingly embraced their new way of life

But recently it has emerged that the Russian state was behind her growing business empire that allowed her access to such people.

She received a £670,000 gift from Moscow to boost the flagging internet property company she set up in America after her marriage ended in divorce.

The FBI believes the real purpose of the money could have been to fund espionage.

In Britain, MI5 are probing her connections to see whether she was 'active' during her time in the UK.

Her father Vasily Kushchenko is said to be a former KGB agent.

It is thought Chapman, who spent five years living in Britain and was married to public schoolboy Alex Chapman, was exchanged for nuclear researcher Igor Sutyagin.

He was jailed in 2005 for 15 years for spying for the CIA via a British company.

Last night he was met by a British intelligence officer after being flown to Vienna from his prison in Moscow.

The other defendants who pleaded guilty were newspaper columnist Vicky Pelaez, 56, from Yonkers in New York and her husband, economics professor Juan Lazaro, 66.

It was said in court that Pelaez was offered a string of inducements by Russian agents including a £1,300 per month stipend for the rest of her life and travel visas anywhere in the world.

Also admitting their guilt were Murphy, 54, and wife Cynthia, 49, from Montclair in New Jersey, Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills from Arlington in Virginia and Donald Heathfield and Tracey Foley, a couple in their 40s from Cambridge in Massachusetts.

Speculation that a swap deal had been secured mounted after Mr Sutyagin’s family revealed he had been allowed to meet them ahead of his release.

Vicky Pelaez's sons Waldo Mariscal (left) and Juan Jose Lazaro (right) leave Manhattan Federal Court yesterday, along with her sister Raquel Pelaez Ocampo (centre)

His brother Dmitry said the spy had been told by Russian officials that his release would be part of a swap.

US officials were present at the meeting, Dmitry said, adding that his brother had seen a list of around ten Russian prisoners that the US had given Moscow including Sergei Skripal.

Skripal is a Russian military intelligence officer convicted of spying for the UK in 2006.

Russian newspaper Kommersant said the list included Alexander Zaporozhsky, a former employee of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence who was jailed for 18 years for espionage in 2003, and Alexander Sypachev, sentenced to eight years in jail in 2002 for spying for the CIA.

The arrangements will ensure that Washington and Moscow can continue the ‘warm’ relations they have been fostering since President Obama took office.

The 10 Russian spies and their paymaster

The ten Russians were arrested in four locations in the eastern United States, where some led seemingly typical suburban lives. An 11th suspect was arrested in Cyprus but has disappeared.

Christopher Metsos, a member of a Russian spy ring

CHRISTOPHER ROBERT METSOS

Metsos, who purports to be Canadian, was arrested in Cyprus on June 29 before disappearing while he was free on bail. He is accused of receiving and distributing money to the group and of conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to the US Justice Department, he was given payments by a Russian official affiliated with Moscow's mission to the United Nations in a spy novel style 'brush-pass' handoff and buried money in rural New York that was recovered two years later by another suspect.

RICHARD and CYNTHIA MURPHY

The married couple were arrested at their house in Montclair, New Jersey. Both claimed to be US citizens, he born in Philadelphia and she in New York, according to court documents. No birth certificate was found for him in Philadelphia, leading officials to believe he assumed a false identity.

DONALD HOWARD HEATHFIELD and TRACEY LEE ANN FOLEY

Arrested at their Boston townhouse, they purported to be naturalised US citizens from Canada. Heathfield allegedly met a US government employee on nuclear weapons research, a criminal complaint said. Heathfield may have assumed the identity of a Canadian man who died in 2005, court papers said.

MICHAEL ZOTTOLI and PATRICIA MILLS

After living in Seattle, the couple moved in 2009 to an apartment in Arlington, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., where they were arrested. Zottoli claimed to be a US citizen, while Mills said she was Canadian, court papers said. After their arrest, they revealed their real names as Mikhail Kutzik and Natalia Pereverzeva and said they were from Russia, according to a letter prosecutors filed with the court. Zottoli allegedly dug up the package of money Metsos had buried.

Patricia Mills, left, and Michael Zottoli, in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia on Friday

JUAN LAZARO and VICKY PELAEZ

The married couple were arrested at their home in Yonkers, New York. Pelaez, a columnist for the New York Spanish-language daily El Diario, was the only suspect granted release pending trial. Lazaro has said he is a Peruvian citizen, born in Uruguay. Both travelled to South America to meet Russian government representatives, court documents said. US prosecutors had said Lazaro told them he was born in Siberia but his attorney subsequently denied this.

ANNA CHAPMAN

Also known as Anya Kushchenko, the 28-year-old was arrested in Manhattan, where she ran a $2million real estate business, her lawyer said in court last week. The New York Post and other media have reported Chapman was often spotted at popular night clubs. She was the only one not charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

MIKHAIL SEMENKO

Arrested at his home in Arlington, he was accused of using sophisticated communications equipment and making incriminating statements to an undercover agent posing as a Russian official.

I don't care what she's doing she's hot. There is absolutely nothing to spy on in Great Britain, MI5 overpaid waste of time.

I love England but our government and secret service, are aload of b s. I'd sooner swap some fat dole dosser and exchange her for that hot russian girl any day of the week. Why send her back, what a waste.

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