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Friday, 2 February, 2001, 21:29 GMT
No profits for spy author
Richard Tomlinson
Richard Tomlinson: Former spy now lives in Italy
The government has won an injunction preventing former MI6 spy Richard Tomlinson profiting from his memoirs.

More than 1,500 copies of The Big Breach: From Top Secret to Maximum Security arrived in Britain on Tuesday after the government failed to have its publication banned.

However, Treasury solicitors have now won an injunction preventing the renegade spy making any money from them.

The Foreign Office said the legal move was taken because the book breached government copyright.

The Big Breach: From Top Secret to Maximum Security
Russian publishers have printed 10,000 copies
Tomlinson worked for MI6 between 1991 to 1995 and was jailed in 1997 for breaching the Official Secrets Act.

He now lives in Italy.

The Foreign Office claims Mr Tomlinson signed an agreement in 1997 assigning copyright over "any work written by me and relating to my employment by the Crown in SIS (the Secret Intelligence Service)".

It rejected Mr Tomlinson's claim that he signed the statement under duress.

It said further that Tomlinson should not profit from such "unauthorised disclosures".

"We are therefore seeking to deprive him of the proceeds of his breach of confidence," said a Foreign Office spokesman.

Freedom of information

Russian publishers have printed 10,000 copies of the book which claim to reveal the inner workings of Britain's intelligence services.

The UK based online information company - which describes itself as "defenders of the right to freedom of information" - says it has a total of 5,000 copies for UK sales. has not guaranteed the authenticity of the book.

However, the firm said its publication would no doubt be seen by the SSB, successors to the KGB, as "one in the eye for the British secret service".

The Foreign Office has not said where or when the injunction was issued.

It is to be served on Mr Tomlinson's UK representatives.

See also:

26 Jan 01 | Media reports
Media scrutinises spy book mystery
25 Jan 01 | UK
Paper wins MI6 book ruling
13 May 99 | UK
The spy who was snubbed
17 May 00 | UK
The culture of secrecy
28 Jan 01 | UK
Spy book 'heading for UK'
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