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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Court Allows KGB Spy to Keep Profits

LONDON -- A judge ruled Friday that George Blake, a Cold War spy living in impoverished exile in Russia, can keep the profits from a book he wrote telling the story of his betrayal.


The government had tried to recover the ?90,000 ($150,000) Blake made from "No Other Choice," the story of his job in British intelligence, his 1961 conviction as a spy, and his spectacular 1996 escape from jail to refuge in Moscow.


Government lawyers acknowledged the material was not secret -- Blake long ago told the then-Soviet KGB all he knew. But they said Blake had broken his trust with Britain's MI6 intelligence agency and should not make money out it.


Blake, now 73, was a middle-ranking MI6 officer who became a spy for the Soviets in 1951. His treachery led to the deaths of several British agents, the agency says.


High Court Judge Sir Richard Scott said a life-long gag on material that was no longer secret would be "an interference in the rights of free expression."


The book royalties have been frozen since publication by Jonathan Cape in 1991.


An attorney appointed by the government for Blake will now start legal proceedings to get the money sent to him in Moscow.


The judgment was a blow for government attempts to stop former intelligence agents publishing autobiographies without permission.