Greg Hands, the new Conservative Party Chairman, claims that he was the target of a recruitment attempt by a suspected Russian spy many years ago. According to the cabinet minister, he met Alexander Kashitsyn, who he now thinks was a secret agent, at the seven stars pub in Fulham, while he has been seeking election as Tory MP for the area almost 20 years ago.
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Who is Alexander Kashitsyn?
Hands was elected as MP for Chelsea and Fulham in 2010. He claimed that Kashitsyn had first introduced himself as a Russian Embassy worker during a conservative event in 2004 at which Boris Johnson was a guest speaker.
Kashitsyn asked for a meeting at the pub and probed Hands for secret information about Iran’s nuclear program.
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During an interaction with Channel 4 for a Dispatches documentary, Hands said first he’s said he wanted to talk about street-sweeping cleaning or bin collection.
Then he asked Hands to get him a document related to the Iranian nuclear program from the House of Commons Library. Hands said he declined to help as he was very suspicious.
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“I was very suspicious. I thought he was a Russian intelligence officer getting a soon-to-be British Member of Parliament to do something for the Russian state. This is sometimes a sort of classic kind of… a sort of espionage technique”, Hands said.
According to Hands, this is sometimes of a sort of a classic kind of espionage technique.
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He also disclosed that two years later MI5 officers said that his number was found on the phone of a Russian intelligence operative.
Greg Hands’ claim is one of several new expose that looks at suggestions that Tory activists went to a strip club in Moscow under a Russian intelligence operation that allegedly sought to collect material on yet-to-be political leaders.