A young economist on his way to high office at the Bank of England, David Beers relaxed by reading the novels of John le Carré.
But the rising finance star was embroiled in a real spy story when the 27-year-old was targeted by Czech secret police as a potential spy while working in New York.
The extraordinary story of how a special adviser to former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney acted as a ‘double agent’ to expose Communist spies during the Cold War can today be revealed.
The rising finance star was thrust into a real spy story when the 27-year-old was targeted by Czech secret police as a potential spy while working in New York.
Documents unearthed in a Prague archive by The Mail on Sunday reveal that Mr Beers, now 68, became the prized career of Czech secret service agents while working for Bankers Trust in New York In the 1980’s.
The files, hidden for nearly 40 years, detail how the communist state’s StB spy agency believed they recruited him as a source and held 25 meetings with him over four years.
“No signs of contact detected by the enemy counterintelligence service, and no signs of potential cessation of collaboration,” an StB agent noted in a report following a meeting with Mr. Beers.
But Czech secret agents posing as diplomats at the UN in New York were unaware that Mr Beers, inspired by le Carré, was doubling them and helping expose their status as foreign spies.
He was invited by a Czech agent to the Smith & Wollensky restaurant. The files, hidden for nearly 40 years, detail how the communist state StB spy agency believed it recruited him as a source and held 25 meetings with him over four years.
Having alerted the FBI in early 1983, he held follow-up meetings to brief the US agency.
Last night the dual British and American citizen, who spent seven years at the Bank of England before retiring last year, said: ‘I always assumed [that they were working as spies]. They all claimed to be economists, but it was obvious that they were not.
“I was glad to have read, as a teenager, John le Carré because in this dark brotherhood of spies [in his books] there were people no different from the people I was dealing with. I thought it was in my best interest to approach the FBI because I certainly didn’t want them to consider me a suspect.
At a meeting in August 1983, Mr Beers’ dog handler, Captain Jaromir Rada, took him to the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse where he was questioned about his personal life in a “no-force” manner.
An assessment carried out by the Czechs in October 1983 described Mr. Beers, nicknamed “Boar”, as “an intelligence agent [that] was developed through direct contacts with employees of the Czechoslovak intelligence services… the results obtained during development indicate that Boar is interested in cooperation”.
A profile of Mr Beers, compiled by a lieutenant Pavel Zavrel, said: “The boar lives a youthful life, which undoubtedly has an impact on his life management. We think he has some stomach problem. Nevertheless, he likes spicy Japanese and Chinese food and likes to eat. He drinks alcohol in moderation, usually beer.
“Boar” was categorized as “duverny styk,” the second highest rank of contact behind full agent, and provided spies with what they thought was useful economic intelligence.
In February 1984, they claimed that Mr Beers had handed over an “internal study” by Bankers Trust into the dealings of US banks which he told them was “partially confidential” – a claim he denies.
“I never gave them confidential documents from Bankers Trust or any other source,” he said. “I think they made that claim to impress their bosses in Prague.”
After his encounter with the Czech agents, usually in Chinese or Japanese restaurants, he would call his FBI handlers who would then visit him at his eighth floor apartment in New York for a debriefing.
Two officers, led by a woman in her thirties who went by the name “Susan Springle”, were interrogating him.
Surprisingly, even though the Czechs were keeping Beers’ apartment under surveillance, their agents were unaware that they were being duped. During this period, there was a wave of expulsions of spies posing as Warsaw Pact diplomats in the United States, and Karel Koecher, a Czech agent in New York, was even denounced as having infiltrated the CIA in 1984.
“I feel like the Czechs saw me as a ‘sleeper cell’ contact, someone potentially useful to them but who they hadn’t yet figured out if, when and how to deploy,” Mr Beers said. .
“Most meetings [with the FBI] happened in my apartment. They were at least two present. “Mrs. Springle” was always there and led the conversation. They confirmed to me early on that the agents I was dealing with were spies.
He added: “In 1985, the FBI floated the idea that they would prepare a so-called confidential document that I could give to Miroslav [one of the StB agents] and that would be an undercover operation. They would arrest him and deport him.
“They asked me if I had feelings for these people. I said, ‘No, I won’t shed tears if you kick them out of the country.’ ‘
Mr Beers, a former head of international public finance ratings at S&P Global, now lives in Sussex. His career as a double agent ended when a new job opportunity presented itself.
“I contacted the FBI and they agreed. I then moved to Brooklyn and never spoke to the FBI and the Czechs again.
Documents uncovered by the MoS show that Czech agents continued their attempts to contact Mr Beers for another year and his file was not finally archived until 1987.