Ex-KGB agent can file lawsuit against UK police for revealing his alias

LONDON (Reuters) – A former KGB double agent, who worked for the Latvian and Russian security services before becoming a British citizen, can proceed with a lawsuit against UK authorities he accuses of revealing his new identity, London’s High Court ruled on Friday.

Boris Karpichkov, the former name of the KGB major, alleges he has received death threats after his new name and address were revealed to Latvia as part of an extradition request.

He is suing Britain’s National Crime Agency for damages for data protection breaches and misuse of his private information, accusing the organisation of unlawfully disclosing his details, which he said Russia had subsequently gained knowledge of.

This has resulted in death threats and Karpichkov, who alleges that in 2006-7 he might have been a victim of a possible chemical or biological attempt on his life, has described himself in the media as “a dead man walking”, court documents show.

On Friday, Judge Victoria McCloud dismissed the NCA’s bid to throw out his case, saying he could proceed with the lawsuit.

In her ruling, the judge detailed Karpichkov’s complicated life as a spy.

He worked for the KGB in the Soviet Union before being recruited to work in Latvia in 1984. After Latvia’s declaration of independence in 1990, he worked as an undercover agent in the country for the KGB’s successor, the FSB.

In 1995, he began working undercover for the Latvian security services (LSP). He was arrested by Latvian authorities the following year, but moved to Moscow where he says he was tortured by the FSB.

He began working for the LSP undercover in Russia before returning to Latvia and going into hiding. In 1998, he moved to Britain as an asylum seeker and was given a new identity.

Latvia sought his extradition, but the High Court quashed a decision to send him there, ruling his life would be in danger from “underworld/rogue government elements if he were returned or extradited”, McCloud’s ruling said.

As part of a second extradition request made in 2018, the NCA provided Latvia with details of his new identity and also later his address, arguing it was obliged to make such disclosures under legislation covering European Arrest Warrants.

The request itself was later refused by a judge who concluded Karpichkov had “an abundance of dangerous enemies in both Latvia and Russia”.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by John Stonestreet)