Prosecutor Alison Morgan said at the Old Bailey court in London that David Ballantyne-Smith scanned copies of letters from two cabinet ministers to Johnson and also copied other documents relating to “sensitive trade issues”.
Smith, who pleaded guilty to eight charges, claims to have been collecting information from March 2018 until his arrest in August 2021, the day after he met with “Irina,” an MI5 officer posing as a Russian military intelligence officer.
Smith also videotaped a number of confidential documents he found in the trays, including a November 2020 letter from then-Commerce Secretary Liz Truss and then-Business Secretary Alok Sharma to Johnson that was classified as “secret,” she said.
Also, according to Morgan, Smith sent a letter in November 2020 to the Russian military attaché in Berlin, Major General Sergei Chukhrov, with “very confidential information about the British Embassy and those who worked there.”
The letter, which was written on British Embassy stationery, included the names, home addresses, and phone numbers of embassy staff and attached documents authored by the British Embassy’s chief Russia officer, Morgan said.
Smith denies any intention to harm Britain and says he pleaded guilty on the grounds that he simply wanted to cause “inconvenience and embarrassment.” He also denies receiving any payments.
However, the prosecution argues that Smith, who told colleagues of his “strong anti-British views” and his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, had a “clear intention to cause harm to the UK”.
Smith expressed “anti-Western and anti-NATO views” to colleagues and spoke of his support for Russia and President Vladimir Putin.
“He expressed views on the war in Ukraine that were against the Ukrainian government and supportive of Russia,” Morgan added.
Judge Mark Wall is expected to rule on Wednesday on the basis of Smith’s sentencing, which is expected to take place on Friday.
A request for his extradition to the UK was filed in November 2021 following an investigation by the British Counter-Terrorism Police. Smith returned to the UK in April 2022. He faces a maximum of 14 years in prison. The sentence will be announced on Friday.