The ex-husband of suspected Russian spy Anna Chapman says he’s not surprised to hear the allegations against her, since he says she told him her father was a “high-ranking” KGB officer.
Alex Chapman, 30, who married the then Anna Kushchenko in 2002, told the London Telegraph that Chapman’s father, Vasily Kushchenko, “controlled everything in her life,” and that she “would have done anything for her dad.”
Toward the end of their four-year marriage, she became “very secretive” and started “going for meetings on her own with Russian friends,” Alex Chapman told the paper,
“I guess it might have been because she was in contact with the Russian government,” he said.
Anna Chapman, 28, is one of 11 people arrested on charges of trying to infiltrate policy-making circles in America's cities and suburbs for the Russian intelligence service.
Three additional suspects in the case -- Michael Zottoli, Patricia Mills and Juan Lazaro -- admitted that their identities are fraudulent, according to prosecutors and court documents.
Prosecutors in New York also cited new evidence such as $80,000 in new $100 bills found in the safe-deposit box of suspects Cynthia and Richard Murphy, who had been living in a Montclair, N.J., home paid for with money from the Russian intelligence service.
It was “exactly the same amount of cash, packaged in exactly the same way, was recovered during a search earlier this week of a safe deposit used by Zottoli and Mills contained another $20,000 in cash, along with passports and other identity documents in the (now admittedly) false Zottoli and Mills identities," the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said in a letter.
Mills told prosecutors her real identity is Natalia Pereverzeva.
Lazaro's admission was revealed Thursday by federal prosecutors arguing against bail for him, his wife and the Murphys.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Farbiarz warned that a powerful network of U.S.-based Russian agents was eager to help the all of the accused flee the country if they were released on bail.
The judge ruled that the Murphys, should remain in custody because there was no other way to guarantee they would not flee since it's unclear who they really are. But he set bail of $250,000 for Lazaro's wife, prominent Spanish-language journalist Vicky Pelaez, a U.S. citizen born in Peru, saying she did not appear to be trained as a spy. The judge required electronic monitoring and home detention and said she would not be freed before Tuesday, giving prosecutors time to appeal.
Meanwhile, police on the island nation of Cyprus searched for a man who had been going by the name Christopher Metsos, who disappeared after a judge there freed him on $32,500 bail.
Metsos was charged by U.S. authorities with supplying funds to the other members of the spy ring but failed to show up Wednesday for a required meeting with police.