A FORMER parliamentary aide accused of being a Russian spy has WON the right to stay in the UK.
Katia Zatuliveter had a four-year affair with MP Mike Hancock, a member of the Defence Select Committee but argued she was not using him to obtain confidential information to pass on to Moscow.
Security service MI5 believed the pretty 26-year-old had been sent to seduce the Portsmouth MP — who was chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Russia — and then send secrets back to the Kremlin.
A Special Immigration Appeals Commission hearing decided the couple’s romance was based on love and not espionage.
The Home Office said it was disappointed with the ruling.
A spokeswoman said: “National security is the primary duty of government and we will take all necessary steps to protect the public from individuals we believe pose a threat and remove them from the UK.
“The court ruled that there were ample grounds for suspicion.
“We are therefore very disappointed by the court’s judgment and stand by our decision to pursue deportation on national security grounds.”
Miss Zatuliveter beamed as Mr Justice Mitting announced she had won her appeal to remain.
Her solicitor, Tess Gregory, said: “Katia is, of course, delighted by the judgement and hopes to now put this episode behind her.
“However, it should not have taken 12 months of costly legal proceedings to reach today’s outcome.
“If the Security Service, like the court, had rigorously analysed the available evidence, they would never have concluded that she was a Russian spy and we would not be here today.
“Our Security Service is supposed to be responsible for protecting us against serious threats to national security.
“It is therefore extremely worrying that they have chosen to waste their time, at great public expense, needlessly and unfairly pursuing an innocent young woman.
“Their case was built entirely on speculation, prejudice and conjecture.
“It was amateur, poorly researched and compared very unfavourably to the counter-espionage work conducted by the FBI in recent years.”
Miss Gregory said her client had been living a “Kafkaesque nightmare” for the last year “attempting to prove a negative – that she has not and never has been a spy”.
She said “Today is an historic judgment” and added that the Government needed to reflect “very carefully” about the “serious concerns as to the standards of professionalism and competency within the Security Service”.
Miss Zatuliveter, who is being represented by a media handler and is expected to sign an exclusive deal to sell her story, said: “I feel fine. I am very happy, incredible relief. My parents are ecstatic.”