Alleged Spy Claims To Have Worked At 'Navigator' Hedge Fund

Jun 29 2010 | 11:15am ET

With the surprise arrest of a group of alleged Russian spies in New York on Sunday evening, speculation about the 'spies' back stories began almost immediately. And wouldn't you know it—one of those back stories is that beautiful 28-year-old Anna Chapman worked for a hedge fund.

Chapman's profile on LinkedIn shows that from July 2005 to July 2007 she worked for a London-based hedge fund called "Navigator." FINalternatives has not yet been able to verify that such a hedge fund exists, though Chapman's LinkedIn profile—which some media outlets say may be a joke—appears to be very real. Several of her connections are indeed long-time industry participants, as are some of those who provide recommendations for her.

Anna Chapman (from her Facebook profile)Anna Chapman (from her Facebook profile)In a Federal courtroom in Manhattan on Monday, prosecutors described Chapman as a "practiced deceiver," alleging that she worked as an unregistered agent of a foreign government. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Farbiarz said she communicated via wireless networks—including computers and cell phones—to conspire with a Russian agent.

Robert Baum, the attorney for Chapman, asked the judge to dismiss the conspiracy charges, saying his client was communicating with relatives in Russia, and that those communications were "innocuous."

Chapman's attorney said that she runs an online real estate business, which she lists as PropertyFinder Ltd on her LinkedIn profile. Her profile also states she worked for Russian investment management firm KIT Fortis Investments from July 2007 to March 2008.

Benoit Quisquater, head of business development, Benelux and Eastern Europe at BNP Paribas Investment Partners / FundQuest, wrote on Chapman's LinkedIn page on Dec. 10, 2009, “'Keep on moving' must be one of Anna's favorites mottos. When I met her in Moscow she was eager to learn, full of self control and ready to develop her client's network. One thing we learned together is that Kremlin museum is closed on thurdsdays.”

Chapman was arrested on Sunday night in New York City after a meeting with an undercover FBI agent posing as a Russian contact. The FBI agent handed her a fake passport and hinted that it was for another person "like you." Chapman then went to the police and tuned in the passport, which is when she was arrested. Prosecutors argue that the move was an attempt for her to make herself appear innocent.

Chapman will appear in court on July 27. She is being held without bail. A detention hearing is set for July 1 for the four others who appeared Monday. Eleven people in total have been arrested in connection with the alleged spy ring.

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