Glamorous Russian spy could be stripped of British passport

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Britain said Friday it was urgently considering whether to take away the British passport of glamorous Russian spy Anna Chapman, amid reports she might want to return here.

Chapman, 28, was among 10 Russian spies arrested in the United States and deported Friday in an exchange for four spies freed by Moscow, in the biggest spy swap between the two countries since the Cold War.

Semi-nude pictures of the businesswoman and stories of her racy romances made Chapman a global tabloid sensation, particularly in Britain, where she spent several years living in London and was married to a British man.

According to several media reports here, Chapman's lawyer has indicated that she would like to return to Britain.

Questioned about this possibility, a Home Office spokeswoman said: "The home secretary has the right to deprive dual nationals of their British citizenship where she considers that to do so would be conducive to the public good.

"This case is under urgent consideration."

Special Russian and US flights brought the spies to Vienna on Friday, parked next to each other on the runway, then took off within 15 minutes of each other after making the exchange that helped to maintain a recent thaw in US-Russian relations.

A government jet carrying the 10 Russian spies, including Chapman, took them back to Moscow's Domodedovo airport, officials said.

© 2010 AFP

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