Britain, Ireland probe fake passport link to Russian `spies`

Britain and Ireland are investigating reports that fake British and Irish passports were used by members of an alleged Russian spy ring arrested in the US, officials said on Tuesday.

Last Updated: Jun 29, 2010, 21:05 PM IST

Dublin: Britain and Ireland are
investigating reports that fake British and Irish passports
were used by members of an alleged Russian spy ring arrested
in the US, officials said on Tuesday.

London and Dublin said they were checking after US
officials announced the arrest of 10 "deep-cover" suspects
accused of infiltrating policymaking and reporting back to
Moscow.

"There is a reference to a false Irish passport in an FBI
affidavit filed in connection with the Russian spy ring," an
Irish foreign ministry spokesman said to a news agency.

"We are trying to get official clarification of this
report," he added.

The Irish spokesman said "the firm position of the
government in regard to the fraudulent use of Irish passports
is a matter of public record."

In London a Foreign Office spokeswoman, asked about
reports that fake British passports were involved, said only:
"We`re looking into it."

Russia swiftly demanded an explanation of the US
charges, which read like the synopsis of a Cold War thriller
with encrypted messages, false identities, and tales of buried
money and hidden video cameras.

Earlier this month, the Irish government expelled an
official at the Israeli embassy in Dublin in protest over the
use of forged Irish passports by suspects in the killing of a
Hamas official in Dubai.

Britain announced the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat in
March over the Hamas affair.

PTI