London: A friend of suspected Russian spy Katia Zatuliveter has said that she has a near-photographic memory.
According to the Daily Mail, Zatuliveter, who had a four-year affair with Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock, developed her skill at St Petersburg University, which was named last week as a major recruiting ground for spies.
It is known that while working for 65-year-old Hancock, Zatuliveter had access to his papers from the Defence Select Committee.
She has also admitted having affairs with an unnamed senior NATO official and a Dutch diplomat.
Nazar Khodzhakuliev, who studied with her at St Petersburg, remembers: “When learning, Katia could just read something once, and that was it. This kept her ahead of us in studies.”
But he insisted there is no evidence against her.
“Even if there was a romance with an aged man, it is her private life,” he said.
Zatuliveter denies spying and claims that the arrest of ‘femme fatale’ Anna Chapman in America last year prompted MI5 to target her.
But MI5 says it has strong grounds to think she was a spy.
Part of their case is her membership of The Valdai Club of eminent academics, diplomats and journalists, which meets once a year to discuss Russian affairs.
But Zatuliveter’s lawyers say it is ‘offensive’ to suggest the club is a stronghold of the Russian intelligence service.