Spy reports rubbished by Foreign Office

REPORTS claiming an Ipswich businessman was acting as a spy before he died in a plane crash have today been rubbished by the Foreign Office.A Turkish newspaper reported that Michael Newman, of Benhall, was being trailed by MIT, the Turkish intelligence services, and that he may have been taking nuclear secrets or radioactive material to Iran.

REPORTS claiming an Ipswich businessman was acting as a spy before he died in a plane crash have today been rubbished by the Foreign Office.

A Turkish newspaper reported that Michael Newman, of Benhall, was being trailed by MIT, the Turkish intelligence services, and that he may have been taking nuclear secrets or radioactive material to Iran.

Today, a Foreign Office spokesman said they were sure the claims were “unfounded.”

Mr Newman, 53, and his passenger Pakistani Zaka Ulab Bhamgoo, died when the two-seater light aircraft they were flying in crashed in poor weather conditions in northern Turkey last month.

Mr Newman, known as Mick to his friends, and Mr Bhamgoo were nearing the end of a three-week trip at the time of the crash and had been due to fly from Turkey to Pakistan via fuel stops in Iran.

The Foreign Office spokesman said: “The media reports were looked into and, having contacted the Turkish authorities, they have proven to be unfounded.

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“It has been backed up by a statement from a spokesman of the minister of foreign affairs in Turkey. In response to a question, he said the reports which had been attributed to Turkish officials do not reflect reality.”

Sean McMillan, who has run Spirit Yachts with Mr Newman for the past 14 years, described the reports as “ludicrous” at the time they were printed, and said his friend was not interested in politics or the politics of the Middle East.

Ironically, Mr Newman had been involved with the latest James Bond film, Casino Royale, after the production company asked to borrow one of his company's yachts.

n Did you know Mr Newman? Would you like to pay tribute? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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