British husband of 'femme fatale spy' talks of her secret meetings with Russian 'friends'
The former British husband of the 'femme fatale' at the centre of the Russia spy ring broke his silence last night - revealing she held secret meetings with Russian 'friends'.
Alex Chapman, 30, a trainee psychiatrist, has told of his fears that Anna, his wife of four years, had been 'conditioned' by Moscow after she dramatically changed during their four-year marriage.
Following questioning from MI5, the former public school boy, from Bournemouth, said that her father, a high-ranking KGB officer, could have groomed her to be a spy.
The glamorous 28-year-old redhead is one of 11 people accused of spying in the U.S.
Russian-born Anna Kushchenko was married to Mr Chapman for four years before their divorce in 2006.
They met across a dancefloor at an underground rave party in London's Docklands in 2001 when Mr Chapman was 21. He said he fell in love at first sight with 'the most beautiful girl I had ever seen'.
At the time he was working at a recording studio after leaving his boarding school, Bradfield College in Berkshire, at 16.
Anna, who was 19, was due to return to Moscow two days later. Within weeks Mr Chapman had arranged to visit her in Moscow, where he soon proposed.
The couple married in a registry office without telling their parents, and without the money to afford wedding rings.
'Networker': Anna Chapman at yet another society party in New York in March
But Anna's father later paid for them to go on honeymoon to Egypt for two weeks and then to Zimbabwe, where her parents were living.
The Chapmans returned to England, living in Stoke Newington, but their relationship soured after Anna turned her back on her 'carefree' bohemian lifestyle and suddenly became obsessed with money and moving to America.
Yesterday Mr Chapman told of his suspicions that in 2005, as their marriage broke down, she was being 'conditioned' by shadowing contacts, and her own father Vasily Kushchenko.
'Anna told me her father had been high up in the ranks of the KGB. She said he had been an agent in "old Russia",' he told the Daily Telegraph.
'Her father controlled everything in her life, and I felt she would have done anything for her dad.
'When I saw that she had been arrested on suspicion of spying it didn’t come as much of a surprise to be honest.
'Towards the end of our marriage she became very secretive, going for meetings on her own with 'Russian friends’, and I guess it might have been because she was in contact with the Russian government.'
About Mr Kushchenko he added: 'He didn’t trust anyone. He asked me why I had chosen a Russian bride and asked what business I had in Russia, and I said none.
'He was scary. He would never introduce me to other Russian people who came to the house and he always seemed to have a lot more security than the other diplomats. He had a Land Rover with blacked-out windows and there was always one car in front of it and one car behind.'
Mr Chapman said that when questioned on Wednesday by an MI5 officer he told them everything.
He said: 'It’s just totally weird to think that my ex-wife could be involved in something like this.'
Mr Chapman said his wife made a sudden decision to move to America to exploit 'business opportunities'.
He said: 'She had met a rich American man who had taken her to the States and when she came back she said she loved it.
'She moved over there to set up her internet property company and it always seemed to be in the red, but it took off suddenly in 2009 and she said she was employing 50 people.
'I couldn’t understand how she could pay them. At some point someone had pumped a lot of money into it.'
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The couple met across a dancefloor in September 2001 when Anna was studying economics in Moscow.
Mr Chapman said: 'Anna was the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen in my life.
'I plucked up some courage and went over to her and said "I'm sorry, but you're the most gorgeous girl I've ever seen". She turned round and looked at me and said "My God, so are you".'
They embarked on a whirlwind romance. 'I went back to work but I just couldn't stop thinking about her.
'Then she rang me and said she was at a phone box at Victoria station and that she felt the same way. I took her back to my flat and we just talked for hours. When she had to go home the next day there were a lot of tears. '
While he was visiting Anna in Moscow , Mr Chapman proposed because the couple could not bear to be apart. 'I said to her "Let's get married" and she said yes. We didn't tell our parents, we just went off to a register office and did it.
'I hired a dinner suit, which was too big because none of the Russian men were as skinny as me, and she wore the same white dress that she had been wearing that first day I saw her in London.
'We couldn’t afford rings or anything, and it was all over very quickly.'
By the time of the wedding in March 2002, Mr Chapman had quit his job in England and quickly found work as a private English tutor, thanks to his new bride.
'The funny thing about Anna was that she always seemed to know exactly where to go and exactly what to do, no matter what the circumstances,' he said.
Quiet life in England: Anna shown in one of her Facebook pictures enjoying the sights in London
'I suggested working as an English tutor, so she took me to an obscure building and pinned a notice on the wall and the next day I had 10 phone calls. I couldn’t quite work it out.'
Mr Chapman briefly met his new mother-in-law Irene, a maths teacher, in May 2002 at a family funeral in Anna’s childhood home of Volgograd, where Mrs Kushchenko, 50, took a shine to him and described him as 'an angel sent from England'.
But when he met his father-in-law, Vasily, during a delayed honeymoon to Africa in the summer of 2002, he got a cooler reception.
'Anna’s father paid for us to go on honeymoon to Egypt for two weeks and then to Zimbabwe, where her parents were living,' said Mr Chapman.
'Her dad was scary. He was very concerned about which direction my life was going, how I was going to "earn my money". Anna told me he worked as a diplomat for the Russian government.
Sudden love for America: Mr Chapman says his wife wanted to live in the U.S. to exploit 'business opportunities'
'It was only much later that she told me he had been a KGB agent.'
After their honeymoon the couple rented a flat in Stoke Newington, where they set up a charity called Southern Union, enabling Zimbabwean expats to wire money back home at competitive exchange rates.
For the next two years the Chapmans lived quietly, with Anna shuttling to and from Russia to finish her economics master’s degree, graduating with first class honours in 2004.
'Anna was an extremely passionate, caring and loving woman,' said Mr Chapman.
'She is also extremely intelligent - she has an IQ of 162 and it showed, because she was able to juggle so many things at once and make them a success.'
Mr Chapman, who now lives in Bournemouth, said he last spoke to his ex-wife four weeks ago but 'she seemed distant'.
He added: 'I thought I knew her but she has taken this path I don’t believe she consciously knew she was going down.
'I believe in my heart there has been some sort of influence on her, some sort of conditioning, then when push came to shove she found herself in a situation she couldn’t get out of.'
Yesterday it emerged that Anna rarely spoke about her ex-husband.
The ambitious Russian changed her name to Chapman and began ingratiating herself with the capital's high-profile international business elite.
She began rubbing shoulders with entrepreneurs, including Topshop billionaire Sir Philip Green, and even claimed to have worked closely with U.S. industrialist Warren Buffett.
In court: Fellow defendants Vicky Pelaez, Richard Murphy, Cynthia Murphy and Juan Lazaro yesterday
Since moving to New York, she is reported to have become romantically involved with a rich 60-year-old divorcee.
She told friends she had been seeing Michel Bittan, a New Jersey millionaire, after they met in a Manhattan nightclub popular with Russians.
Meanwhile her ex-husband now helps his mother Jane to run a quiet holiday cottage rental business in the New Forest.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1291380/Russian-spy-ring-British-husband-femme-fatale-spy-speaks-secret-meetings-Russian-friends.html#ixzz0sVhOqu00