Daily Mail

Did rugby star’s film actor grandad spy for Russians?

- By Claire Ellicott

THE grandfathe­r of former England rugby player Toby Flood was suspected of being a communist spy during the Second World War, newly declassifi­ed files reveal.

The fly-half, who plays for Toulouse in France, is the grandson of Albert Lieven, a German actor who appeared in The Guns of Navarone in 1961.

Mr Lieven’s first wife Tatiana was believed to be a communist spy who had influence with the Soviet Embassy in London, according to files released by the National Archives at Kew, London.

The actress was revealed to be Russian-born.

She married Mr Lieven in 1933 but they later divorced in 1944.

He had mainly attracted attention due to Mrs Lieven, according to MI5 notes.

A report concluded that Mr Lieven, who moved to Britain in 1937 and died in London in 1971, could no longer be trusted.

The report was written by section B5b of MI5, which was responsibl­e for monitoring political subversion.

‘He is rapidly approachin­g membership of the Communist Party and there seems to be little hope that he will be saved from Communism,’ a note added. A further letter said that he was a member of a German Communist Party cell operating in the BBC’s German Section.

Tatiana Lieven was friends with Klaus Fuchs, a notorious German traitor who passed Britain’s atomic secrets to Russia while working in the UK.

Mr and Mrs Lieven were revealed to have applied for Russian visas and planned to move there, though this never happened.

‘Lieven’s wife is stated to be extremely pro-communist in sympathies,’ a 1941 report concluded.

‘Although Lieven himself does not share his wife’s extreme views, he is in contact with communists and pro- communists and is too weak a character to remain uninfluenc­ed by such contact.’

MI5 considered her to be a ‘dangerous woman and one who has been completely gripped by the communist mania’.

A 1952 note about her said that although there was no evidence she assisted Fuchs, she was a close friend of his mistress Erna Skinner, wife of a senior atomic researcher.

The files added that despite no evidence of her involvemen­t, ‘she is a woman who could be a spy and she would seem to be a most undesirabl­e friend for the wife of the deputy head of the Atomic Energy Research Establishm­ent.’

They referred to Mrs Lieven as a ‘virulent communist sympathise­r’ and a member of the German Communist Party.

The informatio­n, it concluded, threw a ‘still more sinister light on the activities of Mrs Lieven who would seem to regard the Soviet Union as her real home and communism as the only way of life suited to her’.

Mrs Lieven’s friendship with Fuchs, and her close friendship with his mistress, was treated very seriously by MI5. Mr Flood’s mother is Mr Lieven’s daughter with his third wife Susan Shaw.

THE wife of a rumoured Russian spy may have stolen the identities of dead babies as cover for KGB agents, National Archives files suggest. Paddy Costello was a contempora­ry of notorious Cambridge spies Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean. His wife Bella was suspected of applying for two death certificat­es in 1960. MI5 files note: ‘We now have what practicall­y amounts to written proof that... [she] was a KGB agent.’

 ??  ?? Suspicion: Albert Lieven, right in The Guns of Navarone, is the grandfathe­r of Toby Flood, left
Suspicion: Albert Lieven, right in The Guns of Navarone, is the grandfathe­r of Toby Flood, left
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