A REFUGEE from Afghanistan who has been accused of spying for Russia also worked for MI6, a court heard today.
An alleged Russian spy has claimed that he was working for MI6[/caption]
The accused, C2, has claimed that he then went on to work for GCHQ in 2006 – the same year that Litvinenko was poisoned[/caption]
C2 also claims he was working for the Foreign Office in Afghanistan – where he met several members of the royal family[/caption]
The accused, named only as C2, denies the allegations that he has been groomed into becoming a Russian spy since he was a child.
He says he is neither an agent, nor a risk to national security, and has been appealing against the decision to strip him of his British citizenship.
On his application, he claimed that he had only lived in Afghanistan – omitting that he had lived in Russia for six years.
He had sent me and I had sent him naked pictures of women
C2 admitted to the court that he had lied on his asylum application, but maintained that this was out of fear of being deported.
The court heard how the alleged spy had spent his childhood under the Soviet regime in Afghanistan, before he paid a smuggler to take him into Russia in 1994.
He proceeded to settle in Russia, studied the language, the country, and even married a Russian citizen.
Upon landing, he handed himself into immigration officials and claimed asylum.
The court heard that the alleged spy began working as a self-employed interpreter for several public bodies – which included the courts, the Home Office, and eventually GCHQ in 2006.
In the same year C2 claims to have been employed by GCHQ, the British government accused Russia of poisoning Alexander Litvinenko.
Litvinenko died shortly after, and the UK government responded by expelling Russian intelligence officers.
C2 claims that he was rigorously searched before beginning this role, but the government denies this. They have denied to confirm whether he was ever employed by any of the security services.
In the late 2000s, C2 moved to Afghanistan to work for the UK’s Foreign Office.
From diplomats to troops, all the way up and down, everyone was fishing for information and knowledge
C2 also claims that a member of ISI, the Pakistani intelligence services, attempted to recruit him whilst he was working for the Foreign Office.
He claims: “I could see that he was fishing for information, seeking to find out what weapons we used and what would be handed over to the Afghan government.”
After leaving his role at the Foreign Office, C2 stayed on in Afghanistan – working a variety of jobs that required close contact with Russian officials.
Not only did the alleged spy visit Russia on several occasions, but he also admitted to the court that he had passed cash bribes to two Russian military members – who were later revealed to be GRU operatives.
Russian ‘spy’ timeline
1994 C2 leaves the Soviet regime in Afghanistan and enters Russia.
Late 1990s He studies in Russia, learns the language, marries a Russian woman, and becomes naturalised as a Russian.
2000 Leaves Russia on a fake passport and fake terms. C2 claims he has fled directly from Afghanistan.
C2 is granted leave to remain in the UK
Early 2000s C2 begins working as a self-employed interpreter for the courts, the police, and the Home Office.
2006 C2 is employed by GCHQ.
The British government accuses Russia of poisoning Alexander Litvinenko.
Russian intelligence officers are expelled from UK.
Late 2000s C2 begins working for the Foreign Office in Afghanistan.
C2 meets Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Prince Harry and Prince William.
A Pakistani intelligence agency attempts to recruit him.
2010s C2 leaves the Foreign Office, but stays on in Afghanistan.
2019 C2 is stripped of his citizenship after being accused of spying for Russia
2021 British security services begins a formal investigation into C2’s relationship with Russia
C2 also admitted to having met an official in the Russian Foreign Ministry.
He revealed that they often chatted, saying: “He had sent me and I had sent him naked pictures of women.”
He said that it was common practice to pay intermediaries involved in deals. This, he described as “unofficial accounting”.
The alleged spy claims that he never suspected any of his Russian contacts to have been Russian intelligence officers.
He told the court: “Afghanistan was at war. From diplomats to troops, all the way up and down, everyone was fishing for information and knowledge.”
C2 continued to work in Afghanistan until Kabul fell – during which, British security services had begun to question his relationship with Russia.
In court, C2’s barrister Robert Palmer KC argued that his client had put his life at risk while working for the Foreign Office in Afghanistan.
Palmer denied that C2 was a risk to national security, instead saying that he had a “track record of loyalty to the UK”.