Saturday, July 24, 2010

Glamorous 'Russian spy' Anna Chapman



Anna Chapman is a beautiful 28-year-old Russian with an IQ of 162, a diplomat father and a taste for the high life. She also has a romantic streak, having married her British boyfriend within a few months of meeting him. With such attributes it is hardly surprising that she has been called a real-life Bond girl.
And last weekend she was arrested in New York on suspicion of spying for Russia.

Anna Kushchenko, to use her maiden name, was born in the industrial southern Russian city of Volgograd, then Stalingrad, to a maths teacher mother, Irene, and a diplomat father, Vasily.

She does not appear to have had an especially gilded youth, having suffered from scoliosis - curvature of the spine - as a child and having lived with her grandmother there.
When she was 13 her father was posted to the Russian embassy in Kenya, but she remained at home.


After school she studied for a masters in economics at the People's Friendship University in Moscow, one of the top Soviet-founded colleges, graduating with first-class honours in 2004.
In the summer of 2001, during her first summer break, like so many well-to-do young Russians she went travelling. London was top of her list.



During a night at an underground rave in Docklands, the 19-year-old redhead caught the eye of Alex Chapman, a Berkshire public schoolboy, Mr Chapman, who was 21 at the time and working for a recording studio, described her as "the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen in my life".
He recalled: "I plucked up some courage and went over to her and said, 'I'm sorry, but you're the most gorgeous girl I've ever seen.' She turned around and looked at me and said, 'My God, so are you'."
He described the encounter as "love at first sight".

They talked the night away but Anna was due to return to Russia two days later. Shortly afterwards Mr Chapman, now a 30-year-old trainee psychologist, arranged to visit her in Russia, where he proposed.
They were married at a registry office in Moscow in March 2002 without even telling their parents.


Mr Chapman described his ex-wife as "an extremely passionate, caring and loving woman" with an IQ of 162 "and it showed, because she was able to juggle so much at once and make them a success".


However in 2005 the marriage faltered, with Mr Chapman saying she started to become "very secretive, going for meetings on her own with 'Russian friends'. They divorced in 2006.
These meetings apparently transformed her, he said, from someone who had never been "materialistic" into someone "with access to a lot of money, boasting about all the influential people she was meeting". She became "arrogant and obnoxious," he claimed, and they divorced in 2006.
Despite telling him that she disliked Americans, she then moved there after a brief spell at home in Russia, saying she intended to make her fortune in New York.



FBI agents monitored Ms Chapman on 10 Wednesdays between January and June 2010 as she allegedly carried out elaborate communication rituals with her Russian handler in scenes straight out of a John Le Carre spy novel. The FBI has desc ribed her as a "highly trained intelligence operative".


The FBI believes she was sent to America to join a spy ring and infiltrate political circles.
She and nine other alleged Russian spies have been arrested.
According to the indictment, she was caught communicating with the Russian intelligence service, the SVR
A prosecutor has described her as a "practised deceiver" and she has been denied bail.
Family and friends have denied she is a spy.


Portrayed as a flame-haired, green-eyed femme fatale, a 28-year-old Russian businesswoman has emerged as a tabloid darling after an alleged Cold War-style spy ring was uncovered by US authorities. Sultry Facebook photos of Anna Chapman were plastered on the front page of the New York Daily News following her arrest along with 10 other alleged members of a sophisticated network of US-based Russian sleeper agents. "Spy ring's femme fatale," declared the New York Post, before elaborating: "Red hot beauty snared in Russian 'espionage' shock."

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