Person interviewed: Michael John Smith
Place of interview: Paddington Green Police Station
Date of interview: 9th August 1992
Time commenced: 21:12 Time concluded: 21:21
Other persons present: Detective Superintendent Malcolm MacLeod
Detective Sergeant Stephen John Beels
Richard Jefferies (Duty Solicitor)
Beels: This interview is being tape-recorded. I am Detective Sergeant Stephen Beels, New Scotland Yard, Special Branch. The other officer present is Ö
MacLeod: I am Detective Superintendent Malcolm MacLeod, Scotland Yard, Special Branch.
Beels: You are, sir Ö
Smith: Mr Michael Smith.
Beels: And you are sir Ö
Jefferies: My name is Richard Jefferies, Duty Solicitor from Tuckers Solicitors.
Beels: We are in Interview Room No. 2 at Paddington Green Police Station. At the end of this interview, I will give you, Mr Smith, a form which, explaining your rights of access to a copy of the tape. The date is the 9th August 1992, and the time by my watch is 12 minutes past 9 in the evening. I must caution you still Mr Smith, you do not have to say anything unless you wish to do so,
but what you say may be given in evidence. Do you understand?
Smith: Yes I do.
Beels: Do you agree that the tapes were unsealed in your presence?
Smith: Yes I do.
Beels: You are entitled to free legal advice, and your solicitor is present with you. Is that correct/
Smith: Thatís correct.
MacLeod: Mr Smith, I would, I would like to, to begin this by recapping briefly on the trip that you, that you made to America back in 1976.
MacLeod: Now, can you just, just remind me the circumstances of that particular visit?
Smith: The circumstances of that visit were, that I knew 2 people, one in Chicago and one in Quebec, in Canada, who I wished to visit, and make use of the trip also for touring around certain cities on the East side of the States for the purposes of sightseeing, basically.
MacLeod: Um, at that time, were you actually employed by EMI, or was this before you Ö?
Smith: Yes, no. I, I, I think Iíd been there a short period when I went on this holiday.
MacLeod: Well, I put it to you again, that that trip was in actual fact financed, paid for by the KGB.
Smith: Er, I would reject that proposition, because I know I paid for it myself, and, er, no-one, it was far, you know, I cannot imagine who else could have paid for that trip if I didnít. I bought the tickets. I, I paid for the, er, a greyhound bus pass, which I had, and all the meals ...
MacLeod: You may have paid for them directly, but you may have received sums of money, which enabled you to.
Smith: No, no. I, I reject that proposition that youíre making.
MacLeod: Right, Ok. Well, that, letís, letís talk about other visits to other countries then. Youíve, youíve spoken about your visit to the Soviet Union, youíve spoken about your visit to the United States and Canada, and also to Vienna. What other European countries have you visited?
Smith: I visited France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Turkey, if you consider that is, um, European? I visited, er, Bulgaria, just for 2 days, I was just travelling across it, and I visited, er, Portugal, Spain and Andorra. Er,
I visited Holland. I visited Belgium. I think thatís about it, actually, I canít think of any other countries.
MacLeod: When, when I used earlier the expression, or the abbreviation DLB, did you know what that stood for?
Smith: Iíve not heard the abbreviation. Iíve heard of, you said, Dead Letter Box. I heard that, and I understand now thatís what you mean, but Iíve never heard it used as an abbreviation like that, no.
MacLeod: Well, I put it to you, that you, you would have known what a dead letter box is, whether by abbreviation, or otherwise, because you had been tasked on certain occasions, by the KGB, to actually clear some dead letter boxes in Europe.
Smith: In where?
MacLeod: On the continent.
Smith: Thatís not true. What do, what do you mean by this? I didnít quite understand Ö
MacLeod: You, well, what Iím saying is, in order to give you, or test your loyalty, you were tasked to clear, to empty, to pick up messages from dead letter boxes, in other European countries.
Smith: Well, I, I, you know I reject that, that proposition. I donít, er, I donít see why you, what, what I could have done in that way. I mean, itís not Ö
MacLeod: So, right, Ok. So, what youíre saying is, that youíve never carried out any work for the Russian Intelligence Service?
Smith: Well, Iíve stated this on numerous occasions.
MacLeod: Yes, but I think itís important from the point of view Ö
Smith: Well, I, if you want me to reiterate. I, Iíve not worked for the KGB, and it is, to my knowledge, Iíve not known any KGB people.
MacLeod: Ok. Letís talk about the time you worked for the EMI Medical Section.
MacLeod: Did you ever bring any documents, or make any sketches about any of the work you carried out for EMI Medical Section?
Smith: No, not, not. Because I, I didnít actually do anything very technical there. I mean, there were people designing and carrying out technical work. I was a Quality Assurance man, who was looking at testing of equipment, again, and software. I was testing software to see that it worked correctly. I, I will admit that I took, um, one document home, which was the EMI Medical Quality Assurance Manual, but that was for the purpose of my professional interests in developing systems for other companies, but itís, itís not actually a secret document, and itís only for my benefit, nobody elseís.
MacLeod: And what about the scanners, the Ö?
Smith: The, the, I worked on a brain scanner, and a body scanner, and there was a new scanner being developed while I was there, but I think I left there before it ever came to fruition. Er, my interest on these scanners were in terms of software and hardware.
MacLeod: Because, I put it to you, that you also provided the KGB with unclassified information concerning the scanners?
Smith: No, no. I reject that proposition as well. I, I, frankly, I, I donít think they, knowing their, their situation in electronics, Iíve been to electronics shows, where Iíve seen some of the equipment they have on display. I donít think they would, frankly, be capable of building a thing like a brain or a body scanner that would work, and, in fact, I, I do remember they purchased one from EMI Medical. I think there was one in Leningrad, maybe one in Moscow, scanners from EMI Medical. So, they had the equipment there, and they wouldnít have needed any information I could give them. They could strip it down if necessary, so, I mean, it was, it was not in any way something that I could have given them, that they couldnít buy themselves.
MacLeod: Can we come back to Victor?
Smith: Which Victor are we talking about?
MacLeod: Well the main Victor, Victor Oshchenko.
MacLeod: In describing your, sort of, early relationship with him, he has explained, if you like, the trade craft, the way in which you were trained to make this, sort of, monthly meets, normally around the Kingston area. He tells us that sometimes, you were, you would go for a meal. It was he who directed you, or instructed you, how to use one telephone box to pick up instructions, and be redirected to another, where you would receive further instructions for the rendezvous point.
Smith: How do you redirect a call, I donít understand that?
MacLeod: Well, I think you know exactly what Iím saying. What Iím saying is, that in the same fashion as you set out yesterday, to take a telephone call at a local telephone box. You were awaiting instructions.
Smith: I, I did not set out to receive a telephone call, as you put it.
MacLeod: Well Ö
Smith: I Ö
MacLeod: Without labouring the point, and Iíve no wish to over that again, but we did cover this ground. You did hear the tape, we did see you leave the address yesterday, we did see you in the vicinity of the telephone box, and, in fact, we saw you in the first telephone box, and I hope to very shortly produce photographic evidence in
support of this. So, what basically, what Iím saying is, I am not bluffing here, Iím telling you what we know to be fact. You denied that you were anywhere near these telephone boxes.
Smith: I did not deny that. Iím sorry, I donít believe I said I denied that.
MacLeod: Right. So you, youíve, you declined to make any comment?
Smith: I declined to make any comment on that point.
MacLeod: Right, Ok. What Iím saying to you is the Ö
Smith: Sorry, could if we could go back to the point you were, seem to be making, that I knew a guy called George, who had phoned me up. And I thought the main point of the conversation was that I didnít know a George, and you seemed to think I did, and, er ...
MacLeod: Well, I was asking. I mean, itís only reasonable I should put that question to you, do you know a George?
Smith: I do not know a George.
MacLeod: Who we know telephoned you, um, and who could only be referring in the telephone conversation to Victor.
MacLeod: Yes, the Victor the one that you had Ö
MacLeod: Ö most dealings with.
Smith: Well, with all due respects, youíve mentioned 3 or 4 Victors to me now, and ...
MacLeod: Well Ö
Smith: If, if you were talking about a Victor. I mean, I think, if, if it was not, er, a surname wasnít used, then we could be talking about any 4, 3 or 4 Victors?
MacLeod: No. But you told me, I think earlier on, you didnít know any Victors?
Smith: No. Iím saying what you, you, youíre putting words into my mouth.
MacLeod: No, I donít intend to.
Smith: The, the, the Victor youíre referring to, on this, this tape that youíve got, and I donít know where you got that tape from, because I didnít record that message. The, as I remember, it was just Victor, there was no surname mentioned. Now, youíre telling me now, that there were 3, at least 3, I think, other Victors.
MacLeod: There, there were 2 Victors, that I mentioned during the interviews.
MacLeod: Both of, both of whom were your handlers. Weíre talking first about Victor Oshchenko, and Victor Lazin.
Smith: So, which Victor are we talking about, because I think thatís quite important?
MacLeod: I believe, I believe the reference is to Victor Oshchenko, and the reason I believe that is because Victor Oshchenko has defected, and it would have been in your interests to have been aware of this.
Smith: Well, if, if it was in my interest, perhaps I should have been, but I, I, I donít see why I should need to be aware of Ö
MacLeod: Well, I mean Ö
Smith: Ö what goes on, on the other side of the world, or it doesnít affect me in any way as far as I can see?
MacLeod: Well, to have left your house at, shortly after 9 oíclock, on, on a Sunday morning ...
Smith: It was not Sunday morning, it was a Saturday morning.
MacLeod: I do beg your pardon, on a Saturday morning. To have left your house at that time of the morning, to go to a meet with a man that you hadnít previously met, at least so you tell me. To go to, for a meet with a man you hadnít previously met, with little prompting, as you could hear from that tape-recording. You, you knew exactly who they were talking about.
Smith: I did not know exactly who you were talking about.
MacLeod: Well, it was yes, yes, yes, and that was it.
Smith: Well, what would you Ö?
MacLeod: But you understood the instructions, where you were supposed to go, and you did not hesitate, even as much to ask the caller for fuller identifying details about himself. You took it at face value, as a meeting arranged by a friend of Victor, or if not a friend of Victor, somebody who knew of Victorís predicament, or not so much a predicament for Victor, more of a predicament for you.
Smith: I, I do not see how that can be construed from that conversation. Why should I think that there was any reason to be concerned. Youíre, youíre making it sound like Ö
Smith: Ö Victor, whoever, if that was the Victor youíre talking about.
MacLeod: Well, I Ö
Smith: How, he, how he would know, er, that he should phone me? I, I donít know.
MacLeod: Victor Oshchenko has defected. Victor ...
Smith: Well then, why should he be concerned about my welfare? If, if heís being Ö
MacLeod: No. Youíre missing the point. It wasnít Ö
Smith: Well, Iím so tired now, Iím trying to answer ...
MacLeod: Well, weíll call this a, a, terminate this interview, I think, because of, um, if you feel that you want Ö
Smith: Well, if you can answer some straight forward questions, I donít like getting involved in these mind games, Iím sorry.
Jefferies: I do feel itís appropriate for my client to make sense Ö I would like to call a halt.
MacLeod: I do, I quite agree. I would rather call an end to this interview now. Itís, er Ö can you just.
Beels: Itís 9:21 pm. Iím concluding this interview. Is there anything else you wish to add or clarify about?
Smith: No, I donít think so.
Beels: I will be asking you to sign the seal of the master tape. Will you do so?
Smith: Yes I will.
Beels: You already have the form in front of you, explaining your rights of access to the tape. And as I said, the time is 9:21. I am switching off the machine.