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Russian 'spy' worked for Foreign Office and met King Charles after being granted asylum in UK
8 February 2024, 10:13 | Updated: 8 February 2024, 10:27
An alleged Russian spy worked for the Foreign Office and met King Charles after being granted asylum in the UK, a court has heard.
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The Afghan refugee, who is accused of spying for Russia’s military intelligence agency, lied to gain asylum in the UK before working for GCHQ and MI6.
The man, who can only be identified as C2, obtained both Russian and British citizenship.
He was stripped of his British citizenship in 2019 after MI5 agents accused him of being an agent for Russian intelligence agency GRU.
The government has argued that letting C2 back into the country would pose a national security risk.
The man has denied being an agent and a risk to national security. He also denied being groomed into becoming a Russian spy from the age of five.
He is appealing against the decision to strip him of his British citizenship.
C2 was granted asylum in 2000 after claiming he was fleeing the Taliban. In his application, he claimed he had only lived in Afghanistan, despite having spent six years in Russia.
He admitted in court that he had lied on the document but said it was out of fear that he would be deported.
C2 grew up under the Soviet regime in Afghanistan before paying a people smuggler to take him to Russia in 1994, the court heard.
He settled there, studying the language and marrying a Russian citizen.
After being granted asylum in the UK, he worked for GCHQ, MI6, the Ministry of Defence, and the Home Office.
He claimed to have been employed by GCHQ in 2006 - the same year the British Government accused Russia of poisoning Alexander Litvinenko.
He claimed that he was searched before beginning the role but the government has denied that was the case.
They have also refused to confirm whether he was ever employed by any of the security services.
The alleged spy worked as a self-employed interpreter for several public bodies.
He is said to have moved to Afghanistan to work for the UK's Foreign Office, which was where he met David Cameron and Gordon Brown, as well as members of the royal family.
C2 remained in Afghanistan after leaving his Foreign Office job and worked in a variety of roles that required close contact with Russian officials.
He admitted to the court that he had passed cash bribes to two Russian military members and was later told by MI5 that they were GRU operatives.
He also admitted to having met an official in the Russian Foreign Ministry.
But C2’s barrister, Robert Palmer KC, argued that he only met Russian officers after leaving government employment.
He said he had put his life at risk while working for the Foreign Office and had a “track record of loyalty to the UK”.