Katia Zatuliveter, an alleged Russian spy admitted a 4-year relationship with married British Liberal Democrat MP, Mike Hancock, but denied she deliberately targeted him during yesterday hearing.
Katia Zatuliveter, 26, also had a string of affairs or “flirtations” with other political figures including a Nato official and a Dutch diplomat.
The alleged Russian spy is accused of trying to access secret defense information from Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, for whom she worked as an assistant.
Katia Zatuliveter admitted opening MP Mike Hancock’s “private and confidential” defense select committee letters, and allegedly influenced questions he asked in British Parliament.
On October 18, Katia Zatuliveter launched an appeal against British government efforts to deport her and insisted she was not a Russian agent.
Katia Zatuliveter told during yesterday hearing that she first met MP Mike Hancock in 2006 when she was 21 and studying international relations at St Petersburg University.
MP Mike Hancock attended a conference in St Petersburg and Katia Zatuliveter was assigned to “chaperone” him.
Katia said they went for a drink in the lobby of his hotel on the night they met, but she resisted to his advances.
“He told me he wanted to sleep with me. He went up to his room and he brought a CD and some money.”
Katia Zatuliveter refused to sleep with the MP or take the money.
“He made it very clear from the beginning he was interested in me. He tried to kiss me. He was very charming during this time.
“I was not getting much attention from men during this period.”
Later Katia Zatuliveter travelled to Moscow to meet again MP Mike Hancock, but told the court her intention was to practice her English before an exam and not to sleep with him.
Jonathan Glasson, for the Home Office, said: “The real motivation was so you could develop a sexual relationship wasn’t it?”
Katia Zatuliveter replied: “I could prepare to do an exam in St Petersburg or I could go and spend a few days with a native speaker.”
Jonathan Glasson went on: “You knew exactly what was going to happen didn’t you, and it didn’t have anything to do with practising your English? It was to develop a relationship with Mr. Hancock.”
Katia Zatuliveter answered: “No it wasn’t.”
Katia Zatuliveter and Mike Hancock relationship began in June 2006, and that year she moved to Britain.
She worked part time for MP Mike Hancock three or four days a month and applied for, and was given, a Parliamentary pass.
In 2008 Katia Zatuliveter began working for MP Mike Hancock full time as a Parliamentary researcher, with access to his Parliamentary email account.
Katia Zatuliveter then moved in with Mike Hancock at his central London flat, where she opened weekly correspondence from the select committee including letters marked “private and confidential”.
Katia Zatuliveter said: “I was able to read them, but I was not interested.”
Jonathan Glasson said: “You have been reporting from Londongrad, from the heart of British democracy, the UK Parliament.
“You were much more than a researcher for a backbencher MP. You have ensured that the Russian Intelligence services have eyes and ears in the House of Commons, you were someone who would ensure that questions were asked in Parliament.”
“You were pleased to be getting attention from a man who was in a powerful and influential position?”
Katia Zatuliveter replied: “I know he is not particularly powerful, he is a back bench MP, why are you trying to portray him as a senior government minister?”
After the appeal, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission will rule whether Katia Zatuliveter can stay in Britain or will be deported.
Katia Zatuliveter also claimed she had no idea the MP Mike Hancock was married until the end of their affair.
She also admitted taking money from him.
According to lawyers for the Security Service, Katia Zatuliveter knew MP Mike Hancock was a womanizer and used that knowledge to get close to him.
Jonathan Glasson said Mike Hancock was “potentially vulnerable” to the Russian intelligence services because allegations of his extra-marital affairs “have circulated for many years” and were published in the British press.
Katia Zatuliveter denied any knowledge of this, but later, she recalled he told her he had an ex-girlfriend in Moscow.
The court was told that MP Mike Hancock was chairman of the All Parliamentary Group on Russia.
And it also told that Katia Zatuliveter had contact with a suspected Russian spy – given the name “Boris” by the court – who has since been expelled from Britain.
“He was a Russian intelligence officer, wasn’t he?” Jonathan Glasson said.
Katia Zatuliveter replied: “That’s what I was told by MI5, so I don’t know it’s true. But they also said that I was, so I don’t know.”
Katia Zatuliveter claimed she broke off contact with Boris on Mike Hancock’s advice after he tried to arrange a meeting with her.
She said there was “no truth” in MI5’s allegation that she was an agent for the Russian intelligence services by April 2006.
Katia Zatuliveter said: “I am innocent and I don’t believe I should be deported without having done anything.
“I am legally here, I have a work permit until August 2012.”
Katia Zatuliveter was served with deportation notice in December 2010.