LONDON, United Kingdom — Britain’s Labour Party has brushed off claims by a former spy for then Czechoslovakia that its leader Jeremy Corbyn had knowingly cooperated with the communist intelligence agency, calling it a “ridiculous smear.”
“The former Czechoslovak agent Jan Sarkocy’s account of his meeting… has no credibility whatsoever,” a spokesman for Corbyn said in a statement Friday.
“His story has more plot holes in it than a bad James Bond movie,” the spokesman said, adding that Corbyn “was neither an agent, asset, informer nor collaborator with Czechoslovak intelligence.”
The Sun, a right-wing tabloid opposed to Corbyn, published documents on Wednesday purportedly from the Czech State Security Archive referring to meetings between an agent and Corbyn in 1986.
The Sun said Corbyn had been given the codename “COB.”
Corbyn was a relatively new far-left Labour MP at the time, having been first elected to parliament in 1983, and was an active member of the trade union, anti-nuclear and anti-apartheid movements.
A spokesman for the Labour leader said he met a diplomat but never knowingly talked to a spy and “neither had nor offered any privileged information.”
Svetlana Ptacnikova, who heads the Czech Security Forces Archive of the now defunct StB secret service was quoted in the Prague Daily Monitor saying Corbyn probably did not know whom he was meeting.
“Mr. Corbyn was neither registered as a collaborator, nor does this (claim) stem from archive documents,” Ptacnikova was quoted as saying.
She told CTK that if Corbyn had been an agent “his file would be in a different category.”
Sarkocy, 64, who worked at the Czechoslovakian embassy in London and was expelled from Britain in 1989, told the Czech news agency CTK on Friday that he had met Corbyn repeatedly at the embassy in London.