AN ALLEGED spy has told an immigration panel she had a four-year affair with MP Mike Hancock.
Katia Zatuliveter, 26, was a parliamentary assistant for the Portsmouth South Lib Dem for two and a half years from mid-2008 before being arrested under suspicion of spying for the Russian government.
Yesterday, she began her appeal against a Home Office order for her to be deported.
She denied being a spy, but claimed to have been in a sexual relationship with the MP, now 65, which began in June 2006.
In a statement read at the hearing, she said she met him at the St Petersburg Hilton hotel, while she was studying international relations at St Petersburg University.
She said: ‘He made it clear he was interested in me romantically. He asked me back to his room but I didn’t go. He tried to kiss me on the lips in the lounge of the hotel. He said he wanted to sleep with me.’
She claimed he gave her a CD, which she accepted, and offered her cash, which she refused.
In June 2006, she said she accepted an invitation to meet him in Moscow.
Jonathan Glasson, representing the Home Office, said: ‘It was so you could develop a sexual relationship with him. You knew what was going to happen.’
She said: ‘Absolutely not.’
But the couple began an affair, which continued when she moved to study Peace Studies at Bradford University. She said they met at weekends to have sex. In 2007, she worked two to four days a week for Mr Hancock as an intern, qualifying for a parliamentary security pass.
She became his full-time researcher in mid-2008, having passed parliamentary security protocols.
She was questioned by immigration officers at Gatwick Airport in August last year, and in December was arrested, then ordered to leave the country.
Her appeal is expected to last nine days.
She said: ‘I’m innocent. I don’t think I should be deported when I haven’t done anything. I don’t understand why I should be deported because someone made a mistake.’
Mr Hancock is not expected to give evidence at the hearing. He told The News: ‘I’m not answering questions on this. Neither Katia or the Home Office wanted me as a witness.
‘They can say what they like in court and I can’t rebutt it. It is not appropriate for me to make any further comment at this time.’
MP plagued by claims over his private life
MIKE Hancock has refused to comment on the claims about his private life.
He said yesterday that to do so would be inappropriate while a case which could see a young woman deported from the UK continues.
But the claims, made by 26-year-old Katia Zatuliveter at her appeal against deportation yesterday, will focus more attention on his already widely-scrutinised personal relationships.
The Lib Dem has been accused of infidelity almost throughout his parliamentary career.
Nothing has been proved, despite media attention and in one case police investigation.
He was last year accused of having assaulted a vulnerable constituent, allegations the CPS dropped in December, as there was insufficient evidence for him to be charged.
Parliament and his party agree he has broken no rules over the Zatuliveter claims.
He claimed in December it was not ‘naive’ to employ her, and he did so because she was ‘qualified, intelligent, with the right credentials’.