Hancock paid for romantic trips abroad with Russian aide

Former parliamentary researcher accused of working as a Russian spy, Katia Zatuliveter, arrives for  hearing before a Special Immigration Appeals Commission, in central London, where she will appeal against being deported from the UK.

Former parliamentary researcher accused of working as a Russian spy, Katia Zatuliveter, arrives for hearing before a Special Immigration Appeals Commission, in central London, where she will appeal against being deported from the UK.

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A married Portsmouth MP who had an affair with his Russian assistant, who is accused of being a spy, paid for romantic trips abroad for them.

Mike Hancock, 65, Liberal Democrat MP for Portsmouth South, met Katia Zatuliveter at a conference in the Russian city of St Petersburg in April 2006.

They quickly embarked on an affair.

She began working for him in Parliament in November that year after coming to Britain to study for a Master’s degree at Bradford University.

The government believes the 26-year-old was spying for Russia and wants her deported.

During a hearing at the Special Immigration and Appeals Commission (Siac) in central London, Miss Zatuliveter said Mr Hancock – who sat on the Defence Select Committee and chaired the All Parliamentary Group on Russia – paid for three trips abroad for her.

The couple went to Brussels from July 25 to 31 in 2006 and less than a month later, on August 25, the lovers flew to Rome. They returned on September 1.

Miss Zatuliveter, who Siac has heard had a series of relationships, mostly sexual, with European officials, also said the politician paid for her to go back to see her parents in Russia between May 30 and June 14 in 2007.

She also said that between the end of May and start of June 2006, before she came to Britain, she met Mr Hancock in Moscow.

The case is expected to conclude on Friday, with a judgment reserved for several weeks’ time.

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