30 Nov 2011

No deportation for Russian woman who had affair with MP

9:05 am on 30 November 2011

An Russian woman who had an affair with a British MP she was working for has won her appeal against deportation.

A special commission in London has ruled that on a balance of probablities, she was not a spy tasked with seduction.

Katia Zatuliveter, 26, also known as Katia, worked as a researcher for Liberal Democrat MP, Mike Hancock, who was a member of the House of Commons defence select committee.

The British government says it is disappointed by the commission's ruling and stands by its original decision that she should be deported on grounds of national security.

The panel, which included former MI5 chief Sir Stephen Lander, said that her relationship with the MP had been "enduring and genuine".

Most of the appeal was held in secret. The BBC reports that the panel heard that MI5 assessed that Miss Zatuliveter was placed in Mr Hancock's office by Russian agents because he was a member of the Commons defence select committee.

Solicitor Tessa Gregory on Tuesday denounced the "amateur" nature of the case against her client.

''Their case was built entirely on speculation, prejudice and conjecture,'' she said.

Miss Zatuliveter told the tribunal that she had met Mr Hancock in St Petersburg in 2006 and fell in love with him. She denied their relationship was based on sex.