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Suspected israeli spy using cdn passport

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Suspected Israeli spy may be using Cdn passport News Staff

Updated: Wed. Aug. 4 2004 11:13 PM ET

Officials at Foreign Affairs are investigating reports that a suspected Israeli spy is travelling in Asia on a stolen Canadian passport.

Zev William Barkan was reportedly last seen in Pyongyang, North Korea, after travelling there from Beijing. He is allegedly using a stolen Canadian passport issued under the name Kevin William Hunter.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Reynald Doiron says officials are trying to piece together information from diplomats, intelligence liaisons and police.

"We are checking the information. We know some of the answers but not all of them and we are determined to get to the bottom of this," he says.

Barkan, 37, is wanted by police in New Zealand for his alleged role in an espionage scandal there.

Two other Israelis, Uriel Kelman, 30, and Eli Cara, 50, are both appealing the six-month prison sentences they received for trying to illegally obtain New Zealand passports.

Barkan, who is a suspected member of the Israeli spy agency Mossad, is believed to have fled New Zealand after Kelman and Cara were arrested. Police suspect that an unidentified fourth man is also involved.

Reports say that while in New Zealand, Barkan went by the name Jay and claimed to be taking a sailing course. He told people he was from Washington, where he ran a window and door company.

As part of the plot, Barkan also allegedly assumed the identity of a wheelchair-bound man with cerebral palsy in an effort to secure the passport.

While both Kelman and Cara deny the charges against them, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has says there was "no doubt whatsoever" that the men were spies.

What makes the report most troubling is that this is not the first incident of Mossad using fake Canadian passports. Seven years ago, two Mossad hitmen were caught in Jordan with phoney Canadian documents, following a bungled attempt to kill a Hamas leader.

Israel later assured Canada its passports would not be abused.

Former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky thinks Canada may have been conned.

"Let me put it to you this way: I doubt very much it stopped at any time," he says. "It's kind of like the Canadian nice guy saying, 'People don't do it again.' 'Okay, we promise we won't, hopefully we won't get caught'."

For now, Canadian Foreign Affairs officials say they want more solid proof that Canadian passports were abused before deciding whether to take any action.

With a report from The Canadian Press

Copyright 2004 Bell Globemedia Inc.

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