Yekaterina Zatuliveter has denied spying for Russia at a hearing in London to fight her deportation.
Zatuliveter admitted to having an affair with Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock, for whom she worked as an aide. She was arrested in August 2010 and ordered deported in December 2010. She has not been charged with spying.
The case is being heard by three judges and a former head of MI5, the British counterintelligence agency.
Many of the people mentioned in testimony are identified only by their first names or initials. If a full name is needed, Zatuliveter writes them down on paper and gives them to the judges.
The first part of Zatuliveter’s testimony, in questioning by her legal counsel Tim Owen, concerned her studies at St. Petersburg State University, how she met European politicians and her four-year affair with Hancock.
Zatuliveter also told about her meeting in autumn 2009 with MI6 agent “Peter,” who was interested in Zatuliveter’s meetings with Russian Embassy representatives “SS” and “Boris.” She also told about her questioning by MI5 employees “Steven” and “Luisa” in London hotels in the period from August until November 2010.
The Tuesday hearings were mainly taken up with cross-examination by Jonathan Glasson, a lawyer for the British government, who asked Zutliveter for details about her close relationship with foreigners, her work in parliament, the way she participated in parliamentary procedures, and about her present day life and work at the Russia Today TV channel.
At the end of the questioning, Zatuliveter denied working for the Russian special services.
“I never did that. I had no reason to. I do not believe that MI5 is so unprofessional that they could not provide evidence if they had any,” said Zatuliveter.
She said the Glasson’s accusations that “she was eyes and ears of Russian special service in the heart of British democracy” and that she could influence parliamentarey processes were “laughable.”
The hearings are expected to last until October 26.