Tuesday, December 01, 2009

'Chinese spy stole secrets' from London's deputy mayor

A former deputy mayor in Boris Johnson's administration has claimed he was drugged by a Chinese spy during an official visit to Beijing in 2008. Ian Clement told the Daily Mirror that he was lured into sex before being drugged whereupon the woman stole information from his Blackberry.

"I fell for the oldest trick in the book," Clement says, "I know I'm no George Clooney, so when lots of attractive women are being particularly friendly it's not normal. At the party a pretty Chinese woman came up to me, gave me her card and asked me to go for a drink. I thought nothing of it but when I got back to my hotel, she was in the reception." Clement was was sitting just a few rows from then US President George Bush when the girl approached him.

"I wasn't thinking straight," he told the Daily Mirror. "I was thinking like a heterosexual bloke who is an 11-hour flight from home. I knew I shouldn't be doing it but by then I was drunk. The next thing I knew, I was waking up and she was dressed and leaving the hotel room. My wallet was open. She had plainly gone through it but I knew she wasn't a simple thief because nothing was missing. I think we had sex but in truth I can't remember. She must have drugged my drink."

Mr Clement said that MI6, Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, had warned him before travelling that the Chinese secret service often employed women to lure men into bed in order to gain access to sensitive information. A spokesman for Boris Johnson's office said, "Neither the Mayor nor anyone in his team knew anything about this," and insisted the information likely to have been gathered would be of no major importance. "He [Clement] has greatly exaggerated his role in Beijing and at no point was he involved in decisions of any significant consequence," the spokesman added.

Clement, who was recently disgraced over misusing his City Hall credit card, says that although the information gleaned did not put the people of Britain at risk, it was nonetheless sensitive. "While I was in Beijing I was making planning decisions from my BlackBerry. We're talking major, major decisions," Clement insists, "They wanted to know which businesses I was courting. I think she was looking to see my plans, who I was meeting and how the new Conservative administration was working in London." 

"It wasn't a breach of British security on a national level. What she had learned from me was economic information about how London is run... it wasn't something that would put the people of the UK at risk so that was why I kept it to myself," Clement told the paper. 

The 44-year-old, who had a partner back in Britain at the time of the encounter, was on a Government trip to build potential contracts with investors for the London 2012 Games. He was accompanying Tessa Jowell, the Minister for Olympics. 

In June 2009, Johnson suspended Clement's use of his GLA [Greater London Authority] credit card, in light of revelations of his use of his official card. It emerged that Clement had used the card to buy business class travel on two long-haul British Airways flights to China for the Beijing Olympics, only weeks after the Mayor insisted he was going to fly economy. He also used the card to pay for lunches and dinners with fellow Conservatives and a £700 meal in New York City. Clement broke GLA rules by using his card for "private expenditure" totalling £2,300, including more than £200 on groceries at Tesco and a £535.49 audio system for his Jaguar car, which he then repaid.

In his defence, Clement told City officials it was the only card he had at the time. However, he was forced out of his £127,000 job in June this year by Johnson who called his actions crass. Johnson later accepted Clement's resignation from his post as deputy mayor. "In the light of the further discrepancies in your expenses that have emerged this morning, it is clear to both of us that your position is untenable," Johnson said at the time. Clement was convicted of several offences and later given a suspended jail sentence and 100 hours' community service.

tvnewswatch, Beijing, China

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