Ex-Communist spy says papers on his meetings with Jeremy Corbyn’s aide ARE genuine
- Former Communist spy insists papers associating with Labour aide are genuine
- Labour apparatchik Andrew Murray angrily denied ever having met Mr Konecny
- Mr Konecny, 68, now the owner of a translation company showed information
Espionage files: Josef Konecny, 68, last week
A former Communist spy has insisted that documents describing his association with Labour apparatchik Andrew Murray in the 1980s are authentic – despite the key Corbyn aide branding them fakes.
The Mail on Sunday last week revealed the existence of intelligence files detailing four meetings between Mr Murray, then a parliamentary correspondent with the socialist Morning Star newspaper, and Josef Konecny, whose job as press attaché to the Czech embassy was a cover for his espionage with the feared Statni Bezpecnost (StB) security service.
The documents, archived by the current Czech government, were examined by a senior British intelligence source who pronounced them genuine and concluded that the Czechs ‘hoped he [Murray] might be useful as a “talent spotter” who would help the case officer identify others who might be susceptible to cultivation by a Warsaw Pact intelligence officer’.
Mr Murray, 61, angrily denied ever having met Mr Konecny or acting as a ‘spotter’, adding: ‘The whole file, should it exist, is a fabrication.’
But this newspaper last night tracked down Mr Konecny, 68, now the owner of a translation company, to his home in Prague. ‘All the information is here and there is more information than I can give,’ he said, as he leafed through copies of his old secret service files that give his codename as Senkerik. ‘There is no reason [for the files to be fabricated] because I could be exposed to criminal prosecution or something for lying and fabricating. I was meeting journalists at different receptions and everywhere, that was my job… I wasn’t talking to people from Parliament or economists, mainly journalists.’
Young agent: Kosef Konecny in 1971. This newspaper last night tracked down Mr Konecny, now the owner of a translation company, to his home in Prague. ‘All the information is here and there is more information than I can give,’ he said
Shown a recent photograph of Mr Murray and asked if he recognised him, he said: ‘I can’t remember, I will not lie. I wouldn’t like to invent anything… I can’t remember him, but there is no reason for it to be false. I would have been afraid to write something that is not true.’
Last night, Mr Murray, who is likely to secure a senior role in No 10 if Labour win next month’s Election, insisted that he never played any role in espionage. It said: ‘Mr Murray has no recollection of ever having met this individual 35 years ago. Any suggestion of collaboration with him is entirely false and the account of meetings with him are a fabrication.’
There is no suggestion that Mr Murray passed on any classified or confidential material and he may not even have known that the person he was meeting was a spy.
Revealed: Mail on Sunday story last week on Mr Murray’s meetings with agent Konecny
According to the StB files list, Mr Konecny and Mr Murray had four meetings at the height of the Cold War between October 1983 and January 1984, including one in London’s Chinatown. They claim Mr Murray, who is chief of staff at the Unite union, was willing to share his views on Britain’s tactics before a key disarmament conference and on the deployment of Cruise missiles in Europe.
Earlier this month, former Labour Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said other countries could ‘lessen intelligence co-operation with us’ if Jeremy Corbyn won the Election.