The Independent: Sergei Skripal: Former double agent may have been poisoned with nerve agent over 'freelance' spying, sources say9 March 2018 | 01:06 | FOCUS News Agency
Sergei Skripal could have come to the attention of certain people in Russia by attempting to “freelance” for companies run by former MI5, MI6 and GCHQ spies, security sources say.
Mr Skripal, who remains in hospital in a critical condition alongside his daughter, Yulia, had kept in touch with members of the intelligence community, past and present. Investigators are examining whether he was using those contacts for work.
There are large numbers of private security firms in the UK which are actively involved, for commercial as well as state clients, in researching the activities of powerful individuals with links to the Kremlin power structure.
Sources close to Orbis, the business intelligence firm run by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, who was behind a dossier of compromising allegations against Donald Trump, said Mr Skripal did not contribute to the file. But they could not say whether Mr Skripal was involved in different investigations into the US President for other interested parties.
The developments came as Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey was named as the police officer who was also admitted to hospital after exposure to the nerve agent. A total of 21 people were affected by the poison, police said last night.
Security officials told The Independent that 66-year-old Mr Skripal was no longer an active MI6 asset and was not regarded as being under threat, meaning he was not given a new identity and lived openly under his own name.
Investigators are looking at the possibility that the attackers may have flown into Britain to carry out their mission and then left, possibly individually, afterwards. It is possible, say security sources, that the attack was carried out by ‘sleeper’ agents, but this is believed to be an unlikely scenario.
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