Prominent Czech Researcher Exposed As Spy During Period At London Cancer Clinic In 1980s

Dr. Jiri Bartek, an esteemed Czech cancer researcher, was an operative for the StB, his country’s secret intelligence agency, during his tenure at the London based Imperial Cancer Research Fund in the 1980s, according to intelligence papers that have recently come to light in Prague. Known by the code name Raki, Bartek exploited his researcher position at the London clinic in order to steal the scientific paraphernalia and specimens that could not be obtained in Communist Czechoslovakia at that time. After he had snatched the equipment and samples, he passed them on to other agents in London, who were responsible for secreting them out of the country. The equipment was hidden in sports bags while living tissue specimens were smuggled out by means of ice packed Thermos flasks.

The discovered intelligence papers raise the possibility of dozens of Czech operatives who, like Bartek, held scientific positions in the West. The one-time head of Czech military intelligence, Andor Sandor, explained that scientists seeking employment abroad were frequently the targets of StB recruitment and refusal brought with it a ban on foreign travel. As for Bartek himself, his handler, Dusan Schwarz, made note in his file of Bartek’s daring and bravery in the pursuit of his objectives. The erstwhile agent currently lives in Denmark and acknowledged his StB connection to the Czech newspaper MF Dnes. He would not disclose exactly what he had purloined and maintained that his actions were not damaging to others.

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