The former husband of alleged Russian spy Anna Chapman has spoken of his suspicions that she was being “conditioned” by shadowy contacts during their marriage.
The flame-haired 28-year-old is one of 11 people accused by the United States of working as secret agents for Russia’s intelligence service, the SVR.
Alex Chapman, 30, from Bournemouth, Dorset, was married to the Russian, maiden name Kushchenko, for four years before they divorced in 2006.
Trainee psychiatrist Mr Chapman, who said he was quizzed by a Security Service officer about his relationship with Chapman, told the Daily Telegraph that his ex-wife’s personality had unexpectedly changed during their time together.
He explained: “There was such a dramatic change in the way she thought and the way she went about things, I felt I hardly knew her any more.
“It was like someone having a mid-life crisis, but in their 20s. She would arrange to go out but when I said I would join her she told me not to bother because they would all be speaking Russian. She was adamant I wasn’t to meet them.
“She had never been materialistic during the years we were together, but in 2005 and 2006 after she started having these meetings with people she referred to as ‘Russian friends’. She was transformed into someone with access to a lot of money, boasting about all the influential people she was meeting.”
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said it is looking into Ms Chapman’s connections to Britain.
But the department refused to comment on whether it was investigating the possibility that she spied against the UK while living here.
Mr Chapman told the paper that he did not believe his ex-wife was working as a spy in the UK but suspected she had been conditioned towards that end. Chapman, who was arrested in New York on Monday, worked in London between 2003 and 2007. During their marriage, the couple rented a flat in Stoke Newington, north London.