The evidence for this spying that I have read about seems weak. Anna Chapman they arrested when an agent trying to pass her some kind of fake passport in some kind of sting. Other than that she was a partier who partied with Venture capitalists, hedge fund people and rich people. There is also media interest because she is physically hot. She did not hide her nationality.
I do not see the reason for having the spy ring, when the same information and influence could have been achieved via web searches and legal activity.
Russians are allowed to work for VCs and hedge funds. The Russian billionaires could get all of that access and more by getting active on the buy side. they could also get access to business plans and other technology earlier by getting active as investors. Most of the companies in nanotech etc.. would not be restricted from taking that money or sending them a business plan with an NDA.
I also do not see the purpose for what the supposed ring was trying to achieve, if they were spies. It seems they could do everything above board and nobody would care.
* Network with business people.
* Meet and interact with American and British policy makers.
* Use campaign contributions for influence
Donald Heathfield worked at Techcast which seems to be variant of Gartner with business surveys for futurology reports. This info is pretty much all out on the web.
Anyone can pay for some journal subscriptions and buy the reports.
Am I missing something. Where did they do something that needed a spy ring ?