Image: Anna Chapman
Dmitry Lovetsky  /  AP
Anna Chapman, left, is approached by a reporter at the farewell ceremony for a U.S. astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan last Thursday.
By
updated 10/11/2010 11:47:39 AM ET 2010-10-11T15:47:39

Russian spy Anna Chapman has become the new celebrity face of a Moscow bank.

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FondServisBank, which works with Russian companies in the aerospace industry, said Monday that it has hired Chapman to bring innovation to its information technologies.

It did not escape Russians' attention that the initials of the bank, FSB, are the same as Russia's main spy agency.

While it was not immediately clear if the bank was genuinely interested in her IT knowledge or was just using her for her fame, Chapman's job description was sure to amuse the FBI agents who arrested her in New York after cracking her Internet code.

The bank issued the statement to explain Chapman's sudden appearance last week at the remote Baikonur cosmodrome for the launch of Russian rocket carrying a Russian-American crew into space.

An official with Russia's space agency, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that Chapman was at Baikonur as an adviser to the president of FondServisBank, but until Monday there had been no confirmation from the bank.

With her flaming red hair and penchant for posting sultry photos of herself on social networking sites, the 28-year-old Chapman was the pinup girl for the 10 sleeper spies who were arrested in the United States this summer and then sent back to Russia in a spy swap.

She has avoided the media since her return, so when she showed up at the launch site late Thursday it caused a sensation. She was wearing a bright red pea coat, which proved less than ideal attire for slipping through the crowd unnoticed.

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Chapman refused to answer any questions before being hustled away by a burly man, but a photograph of her in her scarlet coat made the national television news and the front page of Russia's best-selling newspaper.

While working as a spy in the United States, Chapman used her computer to communicate with a Russian official, the FBI said.

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She would set up her laptop in a coffee shop in Manhattan and a little while later a minivan the FBI knew was used by the Russian official would drive by. The FBI said Chapman's computer would link wirelessly to a laptop in the minivan, using a built-in Wi-Fi chip. In the short time that the computers were close, they could transfer encrypted files between each other.

The FBI figured this out with commercial Wi-Fi analysis software.

The Russian bank said it hoped it would be a "reliable partner" for Chapman in helping her realize her own projects, which include a book she is writing on the new possibilities offered by the Internet.

As for the FondServisBank, it has "acquired an exceptionally creative and what is of equal importance multifaceted employee who is truly concerned about the fate of Russia."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Sexy ex-spy to launch website

  1. Closed captioning of: Sexy ex-spy to launch website

    >>> that will former russian spy with the good looks is cashing in on her notoriety. and nan chapman was kicked out of the u.s. in july along with nine others after they were exposed as russian agents. she made a splash last month when this video surfaced of her racy photo shoot for a russian magazine. now she says her new website is about to go up live. nina dos santos is in london. good morning. anna chapman cannot capitalize on this scandal in the u.s. overseas, she can, right?

    >> good morning to you. yes, anna chapman has repeatedly said she can't talk about her time in america but that isn't to say she's not allowed to make the most of her looks which it seems as though she's she's doing. she recently poses in a racy photo shoot . you saw snippets of the video that came out following that photo shoot . in a further sign that the 28-year-old is looking to cash in on her newfound celebrity status in russia , she recently told the german magazineder spe spiegel she plans to set up her own website. while chapman proved to be an instant hit with the media following her arrest thanks in part to the pictures she posted of herself on her facebook page, it does seem as though chapman 's keenness on such sites as reportedly landed her in hot water once again. following that recent photo shoot , chapman is reportedly being sued by the publishers of the magazine for posting the pictures and that video on her facebook page without their permission.

    >> so anyonena, give me a sense how she's viewed in russia overall. there are reports she's a hero to some.

    >> yes, that's right, alex. she's not just a local hero . she's a national hero in her hometown. and also in the rest of the country. it's said she's so famous in russia , that she can't go out without wearing sunglasses and a hate because otherwise they'll be recognized. she is popular in political circles, having met the prime minister vladimir putin upon her return to russia in july and had in her hometown, members of the local council there have named her an honorary citizen . what's more, a local newspaper from her birth town has sponsored a song contest in her honor. it seems as though out east, the future certainly seems bright for this redheaded beauty.

    >> it will be fun to follow, i think. nina dos santos , thanks so much.

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