Turns out Bill Gates's Russian paramour was also pals with Russian agent Anna Chapman

When Anna Chapman was busted as a foreign agent in an FBI dragnet of a Russian "illegals" spy network 2010, it was natural to wonder if Chapman was really a spy, given that she apparently didn't do much of anything during the six months or so when she lived in New York City. She insisted she wasn't a spy, and the "narrative" from her lawyer lent  weight to that argument if that was the only one you heard about it:

Robert Baum, Chapman's attorney, told CBS News' The Early Show that Chapman understands why she is being deported and that although she pleaded guilty truthfully, her acts were very different from the others charged with her.

"Anna never used any false names," Baum said. "She never met with any individual of the Russian Federation. She never accepted money. She never did any transfers. In fact, the only time that she was ever asked to do anything - by an undercover FBI agent - she refused to do it."

It weakens a little when you read the Politico account of the matter by Wall Street Journal national security reporter Brett Forrest, which states that when Chapman received the passport delivery assignment from the undercover FBI agent, she immediately called up her dad the intelligence man and asked him to confirm the Russian operation. Dad said 'no' and told her to take the passport to a New York police station to show everyone what an upright citizen she was who wouldn't dream of spying for the Russkis. But while damning, it's not conclusive. After all, the FBI has been known to entrap people. And some people have KGB-type relatives which doesn't necessarily mean that they are KGB. It happens. You can't pick your relatives.

Thirteen years later, something new has turned up that raises even more questions.

According to the New York Post:

Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’ alleged Russian lover was linked to the notorious Moscow spy Anna Chapman shortly before the secret agent’s New York City bust in 2010.

Mila Antonova — the decades-younger bridge player with whom Gates allegedly had an affair — was captured in a photograph strolling near Wall Street with the flame-haired former femme fatale, according to the Daily Mail.

The photo shows Chapman gesturing toward a former Art Deco office block near her then-apartment as Antonova grins next to her, the outlet reported.

The photo was likely snapped in 2009 or early 2010, around the time of Gates’ alleged romance with the Russian card whiz, according to the report.

But the details of how Antonova knew Chapman — the daughter of a former KGB officer, who was booted from the US for espionage — were not immediately clear Friday.

Why does look funny? Well, because out of all the tens of thousands of Russian emigres in the city of New York, somehow this pair knew each other and were clearly friends. 

Since much more is known about Chapman and what she was up to in New York than Antonova, let's recall what Anna's game was in the states:

What's known about Chapman is that she was a networker. Chapman supposedly sucked up to one useful or influential or powerful person after another in New York society as an ambitious, attractive young woman looking to make her way to the top. The bureau said her job was assessing targets. Of course, not having any particular skills or brain talents, that kind of networking often involved sleeping her way with those with power, much as Kamala Harris did in her day 20 years earlier.

Her bust, which was part of a broader takedown of a network of what in the espionage trade is known as "illegals," or spies operating under non-official cover, yielded little information about Russian activities. She didn't have much -- she managed to forge a relationship with an ex-Marine in the real estate trade who had had a security clearance in the past, which doesn't seem terribly impressive. She also bounced around with billionaires when she lived in London earlier, apparently entrapping none of them.

Somehow, she came to New York to run a real estate website and began networking again, but she didn't really hook up with anyone impressive.

But she had pals who were better at this than she was.

One was part of the busted spy network:

When Bill Staniford [the ex-Marine Chapman was palling around with] read details of the F.B.I. dragnet, he panicked. It wasn’t only his acquaintance with Chapman that concerned him. Another of the Illegals, Lydia Guryeva, alias Cynthia Murphy, had been his accountant since 2000, the year he mustered out of the Marines. At the time of her arrest, Guryeva was cultivating a relationship with Alan Patricof, who had co-chaired Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Guryeva lived in sleepy Montclair, N.J., with her husband, Vladimir Guryev (alias Richard Murphy), also an Illegal, eliciting a neighbor’s oft-published remark: “They couldn’t be spies. Look what she did with the hydrangeas.”

That one got the hooks in at Camp Hillary, which tells us a lot about who the Russians think is important. Recall that since then, the Russians had calculated that in 2016, Hillary would win the election, and they were as surprised as anyone by Donald Trump's victory.

Now there's Antonova, a homely dumpling who bagged Bill Gates apparently through with her brainpower. Antonova was connected to famous pedophile and friend of Bill Clinton Jeffrey Epstein, who, according to the Post, got her tuition for school somehow arranged and paid for by Epstein. Gates was involved with her, and Epstein reportedly blackmailed Gates about that affair. Gates's marriage broke up in part because of his association with Epstein.

What's vivid here is that the Bureau didn't identify Antonova as part of that 10-person spy network which got busted in 2010. Antonova's game was pretty much the same as Chapman's -- to network with the rich and powerful, and perhaps lots of emigres do that, so there was nothing to it.

But it still looks funny. Did the FBI, which was surveilling Chapman pretty much around the clock, according to reports, take a good look at Antonova too? Did it come to the conclusion that she had nothing to do with spies? Was the bureau sure nothing spy-like was going on with that friendship, or did they somehow her? Or was she passed over for the network-shutdown because someone wanted to protect Gates or other characters in the Epstein's orbit? 

This questions are worth raising.because obviously if Antonova was a spy in the same category as Chapman, she was a lot better spy than Chapman, who didn't seem to bag anyone.

As for Chapman's bust, she merely got caught setting up private "ad hoc" wireless networks from her computer while sitting at Barnes & Noble or Starbucks establishments around Manhattan and transmitting messages to a waiting second secretary from Russia's United Nations Mission who hung around in the area in his van. When she was arrested, she wasn't charged with espionage, she was charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent for those transmissions. After she was convicted, she was traded in a spy swap, for two Russian military men who probably were in danger of getting shot or lowered into a Moscow furnace feet first for treason to the motherland. 

Kind of a nothingburger. She was attractive, so she drew a lot of press attention. She wasw Vlad Putin's Bond Girl or something, and as Forrest notes, Hollywood wanted to make movies about her, while Moscow wanted to make her a star and internet influencer.

That backstory gives one pause now that the new story has emerged.

Image: Screen shot from New York Post video, via YouTube





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