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Penguin U.S. halts Canadian shipments of spy book

Canadian Press reports that the publisher of an American journalist’s account of espionage in the post-Cold War era has halted shipments of his book, which alleges a former Conservative MP from Calgary was a spy for the Russians.

Comrade J
, by former Washington Post reporter Pete Earley, is based on the recollections of Sergei Tretyakov, who spied for Moscow in Ottawa and subsequently at the United Nations before defecting to the United States with his family in 2000.

Penguin U.S., the book’s publisher, cites “legal considerations” in halting Canadian shipments of the volume, though many copies are already available in Canadian bookstores.

In a statement Tuesday, legal counsel for publisher Penguin Group’s U.S. division said the company had temporarily suspended shipments to Canada “to allow time to evaluate the legal ramifications, under Canadian law, of speculations about the book that have arisen in the Canadian market.”

The book alleges Alex Kindy provided information that wound up in numerous spy cables in return for thousands of dollars in cash. It says Kindy, codenamed Grey, was recruited in 1992 by Vitali Domoratski, a vice consul actually working in counter-intelligence for the Russians from their embassy in Ottawa.

Comrade J has previously faced controversy, as many of Tretyakov’s allegations have been dismissed by various experts. Among others, the International Atomic Energy Agency has discounted Tretyakov’s claim that he enlisted the co-operation of a Canadian nuclear expert working with the group in Vienna.

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