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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spy Suspect Mentally Ill, Father Says

COPENHAGEN -- Russian spy novelist Platon Obukhov was mentally ill when Britain allegedly recruited him to become a real spy, his father said in a newspaper interview published Friday.


Obukhov, 28, was arrested in Russia in April and is awaiting trial. His father, former Russian ambassador to Denmark Alexei Obukhov, said his son has been mentally ill for a decade and should be given independent psychiatric examination before his trial.


"The truth can no longer be hidden so we have decided to come out and tell our family secret," the senior Obukhov told the Copenhagen daily Berlingske Tidende.


Platon Obukhov was recruited by Britain's intelligence service while he was a diplomat in Norway in the early 1990s, according to Russian news reports. He allegedly began active spying when he returned to Russia to work in the Foreign Ministry's North American section.


Obukhov told Russian television in July that he became the confidant of high officials, wrote down their secrets and transmitted them to Britain by radio from trolley buses.


During that interview with NTV Independent Television, Obukhov wore mismatched socks and a hat he'd decorated with a star -- an outfit that prompted speculation he would try to portray himself as insane in his trial. His father said it's not just an act, and a Russian psychiatrist agrees.


"He is a psychopath heavily leaning towards paranoia," Alexander Gimervert told Berlingske Tidende.


The elder Obukhov claims Britain's MI6 intelligence agency knew this.


"It doesn't honor them to recruit a mentally ill person," he told the newspaper.


Obukhov's arrest prompted threats by Moscow to expel nine British diplomats it accused of spying. The countries eventually expelled four diplomats each.


The senior Obukhov returned to Moscow after the arrest for unknown reasons.


Platon Obukhov was said to have been one of the West's most valuable spies in Russia and the first British spy arrested in the past 35 years.