An alleged Russian spy was evacuated from Afghanistan by the UK two years after officials told him he would be stripped of his British citizenship, legal documents claim.
The refugee from Afghanistan, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was accused of acting as a spy while working for GCHQ and MI6 and stripped of his citizenship in 2019.
He is appealing against this decision, in a hearing before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.
The legal documents claim the man, who is known as C2 in this case, worked in several high-clearance roles during the 2000s and met two ministers along with then-Prince Charles and Prince William while working for the British Government in Afghanistan.
However, paperwork submitted by his lawyers states that C2 was evacuated from Kabul by the UK when it was captured by the Taliban in the summer of 2021 – despite having had his citizenship stripped from him for allegedly acting as a spy in 2019.
“Following the fall of Kabul, C2 was evacuated from Afghanistan by the UK ... it being recognised that owing to his previous activities on behalf of the UK he would be at risk from the Taliban,” the documents read.
“Having previously sought to challenge C2’s account of the circumstances of his evacuation, the Respondent no longer disputes it.”
C2 denies ever being an agent of the Russian Military Intelligence Services.
Potential corruption case
His legal paperwork states that he was no longer working for the British Government and was based in his birth country of Afghanistan in January 2019, when he claims he was informed by US Homeland Security that the London-based FBI wanted to discuss a potential corruption case with him.
While visiting his family in London in April of that year, he was called by someone who claimed to work for the FBI, whom he agreed to meet, C2’s documents claim.
However, instead, C2 was driven to a helicopter site in Battersea where he met a man who identified himself as “Robert” from the British Intelligence Services – before he was flown to Brize Norten and driven to a hotel in Buckinghamshire where he met a man who identified himself as “Andy”, another FBI agent, it is claimed.
C2 claims the men initially questioned his relationship with various individuals and agencies before accusing him of being trained as an agent for the Russian military intelligence agency GRU “from the age of 5”.
In a separate London encounter in the summer of that year, C2 claims “Robert” took him to the roof of a hotel where he informed him he would “need to do a polygraph test”.
He then claims he was asked various questions which included whether he had worked for Russian intelligence services.
C2 then claims he was told he had “failed” without being shown “proof”.
‘Posed a risk to national security’
His legal paperwork then states that he received notice of the UK Government’s decision to “deprive him of his British citizenship” on Sept 11, 2019 after being asked to visit the British Embassy in Kabul.
Paperwork submitted by the Government’s lawyers states that “the Security Service assessed that the Appellant was an agent of the Russian Military Intelligence Services (“GRU”) and that, should he return to the UK, there was a real risk he would undertake activity on behalf of the GRU and that he therefore posed a risk to UK national security.”
Referring to the claim that C2 was evacuated from Afghanistan, the paperwork read: “It is an undisputed fact that in 2021, approximately 2 years after the Decision and the deprivation order, the Appellant re-entered the UK.
“The way in which the appellant did this, and the events which preceded the appellant’s return are irrelevant.
“For that reason, this skeleton does not engage with the Appellant’s account of what happened in 2021.”