A former British parliamentary assistant facing charges of spying for Russia has admitted to a four-year affair with the member of parliament who employed her but denied spying.
Katia Zatuliveter, 26, an aide to Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock who sits on the Defense Select Committee, is accused of passing information to Russian intelligence services.
She was arrested in December and was then ordered to leave the country.
On Tuesday, she began her appeal against the Home Office deportation order.
“I’m innocent. I don’t think I should be deported when I haven’t done anything. I don’t understand why I should be deported because someone made a mistake,” she said in her testimony to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission hearing, as part of her bid to stay in the country.
“I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Her appeal is expected to last nine days.
Hancock hired Zatuliveter after meeting her at a conference in Russia in 2006.
She acknowledged she had a four-year relationship with Hancock.
Her defense counsel said it was common for young Russian women to fall for older men because “in Russia many young men are undesirable alcoholics.”