msnbc.com
updated 12/5/2010 12:52:47 AM ET 2010-12-05T05:52:47

A Russian woman who works for a British lawmaker has been arrested on suspicion of being a spy for Russia and faces deportation, the Sunday Times of London reported.

Katia Zatuliveter, 25, was arrested by the MI5 security service, which believes she was a "sleeper" agent for Russia's intelligence service, the Times added.

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Zatuliveter had been working for Mike Hancock, a member of parliament for the Liberal Democrats. He is a member of the House of Commons defense committee and has a strong interest in Russia.

Hancock, 64, dismissed the allegations, saying that his aide "is not a Russian spy."

He acknowledged that she had been issued a deportation order, but added that "she is appealing it."

Zatuliveter was arrested last week, The Times said, adding that the arrest is believed to be the first since the end of the Cold War that someone working in Parliament has been accused of spying for Russia.

"Her presence here is not considered to be conducive to national security," a source told the Times.

Hancock reportedly hired Zatuliveter after meeting her in Strasbourg, France, where he often travels for parliamentary business as a member of the Council of Europe.

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