Britain’s ‘C2’ Spy Case Is So Secretive Even Lawyers Can’t See the Evidence

A former MI6 and GCHQ interpreter is accused of spying for Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency and his London immigration hearing is so secretive lawyers say the accused - identified only as C2 - is not allowed to know details of the charges against him and his solicitors can’t see select evidence.

C2 holds dual citizenship with Russia and the UK Special Immigration Appeals Commission is deciding whether to uphold a decision to strip C2 of his British citizenship.

C2, born in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, moved to Russia in the 1990s where he lived for six years. He omitted telling that to British authorities when he claimed asylum in the UK, however, reportedly saying he flew in straight from Afghanistan because his family was under threat from the Mujahideen. Fluent in Dari, Pashto, Russian, and English, C2 was granted exceptional leave to remain and worked for MI6, the GCHQ signals intelligence agency, and Britain’s Home Office. He passed multiple security vetting procedures and had access to top-secret information.

“Britain’s assertion that C2 may have been a Russian spy is embarrassing to the government and its intelligence services,” the Washington Post notes. “Either he was a spy who worked at the heart of British intelligence, or they have misread the evidence and gotten the wrong mole.”

Britain’s ‘C2’ Spy Case Is So Secretive Even Lawyers Can’t See the Evidence

BY
Caroline Byrne
5
MINUTE READ
Share with Twitter
Share
Share to Facebook
Share to Twitter
Share with email

A former MI6 and GCHQ interpreter is accused of spying for Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency and his London immigration hearing is so secretive lawyers say the accused - identified only as C2 - is not allowed to know details of the charges against him and his solicitors can’t see select evidence.

C2 holds dual citizenship with Russia and the UK Special Immigration Appeals Commission is deciding whether to uphold a decision to strip C2 of his British citizenship.

C2, born in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, moved to Russia in the 1990s where he lived for six years. He omitted telling that to British authorities when he claimed asylum in the UK, however, reportedly saying he flew in straight from Afghanistan because his family was under threat from the Mujahideen. Fluent in Dari, Pashto, Russian, and English, C2 was granted exceptional leave to remain and worked for MI6, the GCHQ signals intelligence agency, and Britain’s Home Office. He passed multiple security vetting procedures and had access to top-secret information.

“Britain’s assertion that C2 may have been a Russian spy is embarrassing to the government and its intelligence services,” the Washington Post notes. “Either he was a spy who worked at the heart of British intelligence, or they have misread the evidence and gotten the wrong mole.”

Article Ad
Article Ad
Article Ad


A Russian spy in Britain? 

Despite the secrecy surrounding the hearing, intriguing details have emerged from C2 v Secretary of State for the Home Department, including how Britain’s Special Immigration Appeals Commission operates in the realm of espionage. The hearing consisted of four days of evidence in February 2024, submissions, and ‘CLOSED’ evidence that was never revealed to C2 or his lawyers, according to C2's solicitors at Bindmans London law firm.

Instead, C2’s appeal is being heard in parallel proceedings: public proceedings (known as ‘OPEN’) and separate private proceedings (known as ‘CLOSED’). C2 and his OPEN lawyers, Bindmans, are not allowed to see any of the CLOSED evidence. Separately, C2 is represented in CLOSED proceedings by Special Advocates, who can see the CLOSED evidence but can’t discuss it or his case more generally with C2 or his OPEN Bindmans legal team.

“C2’s appeal is a stark reminder of the ‘inherent unfairness’ of secret deprivation of citizenship proceedings,” Shirin Marker, C2’s Bindmans solicitor, said. “He has been forced to pursue his appeal completely in the dark as to the evidence against him and the details of what he is actually said to have done.”


C2, Boris & Dimitri

C2 eventually stopped working for the British government and returned to Afghanistan where he was employed by the local government and an energy company; the new jobs led to meetings with Russian officials. He also befriended two Russian defense attaches known as Boris and Dimitri. C2 told the immigration hearing that he didn’t know if they or any of his other acquaintances were intelligence agents: “I don’t know that and I can’t determine that.”

C2 was questioned during a visit to Britain and deprived of his British citizenship in 2019 based on the allegation that he was a GRU agent.

In yet another twist, C2 was evacuated from Afghanistan to the UK by the British government after the fall of Kabul in 2021, then arrested and granted bail in the UK from where he continues to pursue his appeal.

The GRU is the foreign intelligence arm of the Russian Ministry of Defense, accused of an incredible mix of operations (all of which it denies) from interfering in the US election to poisoning Sergei Skripal in England, running foreign sleeper agents, and a hacking campaign targeting Ukraine.

Read mORE

RELATED aRTICLES

Gadgets & Gifts

Put your spy skills to work with these fabulous choices from secret notepads & invisible inks to Hacker hoodies & high-tech handbags. We also have an exceptional range of rare spy books, including many signed first editions.

Shop Now

Your Spy SKILLS

We all have valuable spy skills - your mission is to discover yours. See if you have what it takes to be a secret agent, with our authentic spy skills evaluation* developed by a former Head of Training at British Intelligence. It's FREE so share & compare with friends now!

dISCOVER Your Spy SKILLS

* Find more information about the scientific methods behind the evaluation here.