Anna Chapman deported to Russia, British tabloids will miss her

Anna Chapman, one of 10 Russian spies to be deported from New York Thursday, was once married to a British man in London. He called her "wild."

Luke MacGregor/Reuters
A London underground passenger reads the Daily Telegraph newspaper featuring a front page interview with the ex-husband of accused Russian spy Anna Chapman on Friday.

Did she marry him for the British passport?

Was her real estate company a front?

Was her dad a KGB operative?

Did she ever go clubbing with Prince Harry?

Is her hair even naturally that red?

These and other probing questions are what have been preoccupying Britain this week, following the news that one of the ten Russian spies – now being deported from the US to Russia – was using a UK passport and had lived in London for five years.

IN PICTURES: Top notorious spies

The interest might not have been so high if the alleged spy in question was Cynthia Murphy (who revealed her real name today, Lydia Guryev) the somewhat frumpy tax advisor from suburban New Jersey, or Vicky Pelaez, the middle aged Spanish language journalist from Yonkers.

Twenty-eight-year old Anna Chapman, however, is a different story.

She is glamorous. She is young. And according to Alex Chapman, her not-very-discrete British ex-husband, she is wild. The topless photos to go along with his fine revelation were, much to the horror of Chapman’s mother Irina back in Volgograd, plastered all over the British tabloids throughout the week.

“I have no idea what a spy really could have been looking for at Annabel’s [a posh London nightclub] but all I can say is she is great looking which makes a good story,” said Dan Vickers, a discerning reader picking up a Daily Mirror with a photo of a scantily clad red head Chapman splashed on the front cover.

The latest Mirror revelations about the case suggest that Chapman was sent to London to scheme a way into the social circles of Princes William and Harry. This hardship mission supposedly demanded frequent late nights at the club Boujis, the West London haunt of the Royal young men, as well as expensive dinners at their favorite upscale Sushi bar Nobu.

"Keeping the princes fully protected in that kind of alcohol-fuelled, closed-in environment has always been a major headache,” a security source confided to the Mirror, adding that the possibility a Russian spy had been hanging around the Royals was “extremely worrying.”

Meanwhile, amongst all the photos, revelations, stories, and intrigue swirling around, there is very little actual information about what, if anything, the Russian party girl was looking for, or had found during her London years.

Chapman’s former husband and parents-in-law have suggested in recent days that the young woman might have been meeting with other Russian agents while in London, and that her expensive lifestyle was being funded by the Russian government.

Alex Chapman has also said his ex wife admitted to him that her father was a former KGB officer. “Her father controlled everything in her life,” he told the Guardian. “…and I felt she would have done anything for her dad.”

MI5 has refused to comment on the ongoing investigation, although a former head of the agency – Dame Stella Rimington – said earlier in the week, in an article she penned for the Telegraph, that “no one should be surprised,” that such espionage was going on, and that indeed the successor agency to the KGB was “every bit as active as its predecessor.”

Ms. Rimington, who in 1992 became the first female director of MI5, pointed out that MI5 currently devotes 88 percent of its resources to countering terrorism, and only 3 percent on countering espionage.

Are Russians spying on Britain today, she asked rhetorically. “You bet they are," she answers.

IN PICTURES: Top notorious spies


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