Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/26/houghton_bail/

Alleged spy traitor's bail bid blocked

Dutch tipped-off Britain

By Christopher Williams

Posted in Government, 26th March 2010 14:27 GMT

A former MI6 officer who allegedly attempted to sell Top Secret computer files to what he thought was a foreign intelligence agency has had his bail application rejected.

Westminster magistrates remanded Daniel Houghton, 25, from Finsbury Park, on an Official Secrets Act charge and a Theft Act charge until a further hearing on April 15, PA reports.

He was arrested on March 1 at a central London hotel after allegedly accepting a briefcase containing £900,000 from MI5 counter-espionage officers posing as foreign intelligence. He had demanded £2m, prosecutors have claimed.

It emerged in court yesterday that the operation was launched afer a tip-off from Dutch intelligence authorities. Houghton, a computer science graduate who left MI6 after less than two years' service, has joint British-Dutch nationality.

The disclosure suggests MI6, officially known as the Secret Intelligence Service, did not know Houghton had taken files detailing intelligence gathering techniques and information on 300 British agents when he left his job.

If convicted on both charges he faces a maximum possible sentence of 9 years imprisonment. ®

This article originally said the maximum possible sentence would be 14 years. This has been corrected.