Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Sexspionage - a book by Nigel West

We have just been sent a photocopy of a few pages from Nigel West's latest book "Historical Dictionary of Sexspionage". Below is the entry that applies to John's own case, which gives a brief outline of the story of his life.

SYMONDS, JOHN. Detective Sergeant John Syrnonds of the Metropolitan Police’s Criminal Investigation Department left England in 1972 to start a new life as a mercenary in Africa. A former army officer, he had been charged with corruptly receiving £150, and when two colleagues were given lengthy prison sentences for similar offenses, on equally dubious evidence, he went abroad and prepared a dossier on police corruption that caught the attention of the KGB rezident in Tangier, who tried to interest him in assassinating a recent defector, Oleg Lyalin. His affair with a German woman while on holiday in Bulgaria led to his recruitment by the KGB to undertake a mission that involved Gunter Guillaume, the spy inside Chancellor Willi Brandt’s private office. Later he was given sex training in Moscow as a Romeo spy and sent to India by Oleg Kalugin to seduce the wives of certain Central Intelligence Agency officers, but when his girlfriend in Bulgaria was persecuted by the secret police he abandoned his assignment to protect her. Symonds also undertook a mission to Australia to collect authentic passports for use by KGB illegals.

After eight years working for the KGB, Symonds returned to London where he faced trial and was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for corruption. Upon his release he was granted immunity from prosecution for his evidence concerning corruption at Scotland Yard, although MI5 disbelieved his claims to have spied for the KGB.

In 1992 KGB defector Vasili Mitrokhin identified Symonds as the KGB’s star British agent, prompting Symonds to write his autobiography. This proved an embarrassment for MI5, which had rejected his offers of information on advice from Scotland Yard, which was anxious to bury his allegations of widespread corruption. He was finally vindicated and was the subject of a Parliamentary enquiry conducted by the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee.

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