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Tuesday, June 8, 1999 Published at 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK

World: Europe

Former spy told: Pack your bags

Richard Tomlinson denies publishing spies' names

Former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson says he has been told by the Swiss authorities to leave the country by Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Tomlinson is accused of publishing the names of British spies on the Internet - a charge he denies.

Dominique Reymond, spokesman for the Swiss attorney general's office, earlier said: "Due to his behaviour and his comments over the past weeks and months he is not welcome in Switzerland for the time being."

The BBC's Claire Doole: "It looks as if the net is closing in"
Mr Tomlinson, who has been living in Geneva since October last year, told the BBC he plans to fly to any country that will accept him. His solicitor confirmed that he was detained briefly by Swiss police and asked to go.

The former spy has already been barred from the United States, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Mr Tomlinson, who was dismissed by MI6 in 1995, denies UK Government allegations of posting the names on the Internet last month. However, the Swiss authorities opened an investigation into the allegations.

Now they say his presence is "undesirable".

Internet threats

After being dismissed, he went to live in Spain and, in an attempt to get back at his former employer, wrote articles for the British press.

This, alongside his threats to expose MI6 in detail on the Internet, saw Mr Tomlinson arrested on his return to the UK. In 1997 he became the first MI6 agent to be tried under the Official Secrets Act since George Blake in 1961.

He pleaded guilty and served six months in a British prison.

After the list of agents became known to security forces, frantic efforts were made to remove it.

But several "mirror" sites appeared on the Web, recording thousands of hits.

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