BUG FOILS PROBE HACK

The People - - NEWS FEATURES - By Alan Selby

RUS­SIAN spooks who tried to hack the chem­i­cal weapons watch­dog as it probed the Sal­is­bury at­tack were foiled be­cause a friend of one of the as­sas­sins was bugged. Colonel Kon­stantin Bakhtin was caught dis­cussing the plot against the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for the Pro­hi­bi­tion of Chem­i­cal Weapons in Am­s­ter­dam dur­ing phone calls to the GRU head­quar­ters. A Rus­sian se­cu­rity source said: “The Dutch were watch­ing from the start. They’d tapped his phone so when­ever he called they were lis­ten­ing. He was re­spon­si­ble for the tech they used and helped get them their equip­ment.”

Bakhtin is now re­port­edly be­ing re­called to Moscow – and is likely to face a sticky end.

Dur­ing his train­ing, he lived in the same dor­mi­tory as Ana­toly Chep­iga – who used the alias of Rus­lan Boshi­rov in the March novi­chok at­tack.

Chep­iga lived in flat 28, while Bakhtin lived in apart­ment 10 at the Rus­sian State Hu­man­i­tar­ian Univer­sity at Build­ing 1, Kirovo­grad­skaya Street. They are re­ported to have been friends, hol­i­day­ing to­gether with their fam­i­lies. In 2014, Bakhtin was tasked with sourc­ing in­tel­li­gence on the probe into the Malaysian Air­lines flight brought down over Ukraine killed 298. The news comes af­ter Vladimir Putin’s spy chief, Colonel-gen­eral Igor Korobov, fell ill sud­denly fol­low­ing a fu­ri­ous dress­ing down from Putin over the bun­gled novi­chok op­er­a­tions in the UK and Am­s­ter­dam.

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