Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Zimbabwe Mogul Implicated in U.S. Spy Saga

Zim mogul in US spy saga

Agencies-Herald Reporter

A Zimbabwean businessman, Mr Ken Sharpe (38), has been implicated in an espionage saga that has seen 10 suspected spies arrested in the United States.

Mr Sharpe has been tied to Anna Chapman (28), who was arrested last week and is believed to have been part of a spy-ring operating in the US.

Mr Sharpe’s business interests involve property development and
bottling and is understood to be a major supplier of Vodka bottles for
the Russian market.

Mr Sharpe, The Herald understands, was involved in brokering the deal between Harare City Council and a Ukrainian company for the
construction of the Joshua Mqabuko Express (Airport Road).

A Mr Ken Sharpe Jnr is listed as a local representative of the contractor.

Chapman used to work for a company reportedly owned by Mr Sharpe in the United Kingdom.

Internet news reports at the weekend indicated that British
intelligence unit, MI5, suspected their relationship went beyond a
simple employer-employee one.

Mr Sharpe has denied the allegations and says he never owned the company.

Online media yesterday quoted him as saying: "I have not heard from
MI5. Southern Union in the UK was not my company."

Presently, Southern Union has one listed director, Mr Steven Sugden,
who lives in Ireland.

However, Mr Sugden says he was listed as a director without his knowledge.

Chapman reportedly worked for multi-millionaire Mr Sharpe for three
years in London.

Her ex-husband, Alex, last week told the British media that he had
been quizzed by an MI5 agent on the links between the woman and Mr
Sharpe, who is fluent in Russian.

Suspicions are that the suspected spy moved millions of US dollars
between Zimbabwe and the UK using Southern Union.

British authorities think the money may have been laundered for
espionage purposes.

Southern Union is understood to have been established to enable people to send money to Zimbabwe at competitive rates.

Chapman’s ex-husband said the MI5 agent had also quizzed him about the relationship between Mr Sharpe and the suspected spy’s father, Russian diplomat Mr Vasily Kushchenko.

Mr Kushchenko has also been accused of spying.

Indications are that Mr Sharpe is living in Zimbabwe with his Russian
wife Joanna (nee Ludmilla Nikolaivian Parhomenko), a former belly

He lived in London until October 2007. — Agencies-Herald Reporter.

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