Russia spy suspect Chapman's ex-husband revealed: report

2nd July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The British ex-husband of Anna Chapman, the flame-haired businesswoman suspected of being part of a Russian spy ring, is a trainee psychiatrist who was married to her for four years, a paper reported Friday.

Alex Chapman, 30, told the Daily Telegraph that he met his wife-to-be, then called Anna Kushchenko, at a party in London in 2001.

Just 21 and 19 at the time, the pair quickly fell in love and married five months later in Moscow.

But in just a few years, the ex-husband told how Anna Chapman changed from being a carefree person who was not materialistic into an "arrogant and obnoxious" woman who moved in influential circles.

By 2006 they had divorced, but have remained in touch since.

The suspected Russian agent worked in London for several years after her marriage, but Alex Chapman said he did not believe she was working as a spy at this point.

He suspects she was being "conditioned" to take just such a path, however. Anna Chapman is among 11 suspected "deep-cover" suspects charged with trying to infiltrate US policymaking circles and report back to Moscow in a Cold War-style spy case that threatens to strain thawing ties between the countries.

She was remanded into custody without bail at a New York court on Monday.

Enormous media attention has focused on the 28-year-old since the suspected Kremlin spies were snared several days ago, with media portraying her as a green-eyed femme fatale.

Alex Chapman said it did not come as a shock that his ex-wife had been accused of being a Russian agent, given what she had told him about her father, Vasily Kushchenko.

"Anna told me her father had been high up in the ranks of the KGB. She said he had been an agent in 'old Russia'," he told the Telegraph.

"Her father controlled everything in her life, and I felt she would have done anything for her dad.

"When I saw that she had been arrested on suspicion of spying it didn't come as much of a surprise to be honest."

He said when their marriage broke down in 2005 he feared she was on the road to becoming a spy.

"I don't think she was working as a spy here but I suspect she had been conditioned towards that end."

He added she fell in with a new group and became "arrogant and obnoxious, always going on about powerful people she was meeting."

Her ex-husband said he was visited by agents of domestic intelligence service MI5 at his home in Bournemouth, southern England, on Wednesday and was questioned about his former wife.

The Foreign Office has said it was looking into Anna Chapman's links to Britain.

© 2010 AFP

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