London, Aug.8 (ANI): Spooks at Britain's MI6 tried to broker a deal with Russian spy Anna Chapman minutes before she flew to Moscow, a security source has claimed.
Intelligence officers approached the secret agent at Vienna airport last month while she was waiting for her plane to refuel.
The agent, one of 10 ordered out of the US after the discovery of a Russian spy ring, was given the chance of a new life in Britain in return for information about other Russian spooks in the UK.
Chapman refused their deal and boarded the plane back to her homeland, the Daily Express reports.
The spies received a rapturous reception from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who toasted their return with patriotic Soviet-era songs.
A source close to MI6 told the Sunday Express: "There was a deal on the table just before she caught her connecting flight to Moscow. The secret service intercepted her on her flight back from America to Vienna, where her plane landed to refuel. MI6 were keen to know about other 'illegals' - Russian spy cells - hiding in Britain, so they made her an offer. In return they offered to give her back British citizenship and allow her to settle in London.
He added: "Anna was having none of it though and told them in no uncertain terms that she wished to return to Russia."
Before moving to the US, 28-year-old Chapman, whose maiden name is Kushchenko, lived in London. She worked for a number of multinational companies between 2001 and 2006, including Barclays Bank and private plane hire firm NetJets Europe.
In 2002 she married Bournemouth businessman Alex Chapman but they separated in 2005, a year before she moved to New York.
During her four years in America she set up her own property firm and mixed with some of Manhattan's most influential politicians and business chiefs.
The FBI finally caught up with her on June 27, when she was arrested on suspicion of working for a spy ring under the command of Russia's SVR intelligence agency.
She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the US Attorney General and was eported as part of a spy swap. (ANI)