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British diplomat accused of spying by Russia

world Updated: Jul 11, 2008 08:30 IST

A British diplomat has been accused of spying by Russian authorities, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry in London told AFP on Friday.

According to the spokeswoman, Christopher Bowers, the acting director of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the agency that provides support to British companies doing business in international markets, had been accused of spying, but gave no further details.

"I can confirm allegations of spying by the Russian authorities on one of the members of the British embassy," she said.

"We don't comment on issues of intelligence matters."

Russia's Interfax news agency had reported earlier on Thursday, citing an unnamed source within the country's intelligence service, that some of Bower's activities had raised questions, particularly his alleged meetings with human rights activists in the North Caucausus.

Britain and Russia have had troubled relations in recent months, having cooled considerably after the murder of Russian spy turned Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London in November 2006.

Russia has refused to extradite lawmaker and ex-KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi to face charges in Britain.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said yesterday he told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the recent G8 summit that the issue of Litvinenko's death "would not be closed".