Constantini, Francesco

(c. 1900–?)
   An Italian employee of the British embassy in Rome, Constantini served as a Soviet agent for more than a decade. Under the code name “Duncan,” he provided his Soviet handlers with British code material and diplomatic dispatches. In 1935 more than 100 British documents that he stole were translated and presented to Joseph Stalin. Francesco’s brother Secondo also spied for the Soviet Union with the code name “Dudley.” Like his brother, he was highly valued by the British diplomatic community and in 1937 was given an all-expenses paid vacation to London to witness the coronation of King George VI.
   The British embassy in Rome did not have a security officer in the years between World War I and World War II. Local employees, such as the Constantinis, were given access to the ambassador’s safe. They were even given responsibility for locking the embassy at night. The benefit to Moscow from the Constantinis’ spying was immense: it gave Soviet signals intelligence the ability to read British coded material for more than a decade. The Constantinis were, however, more entrepreneurial than Moscow would have liked: they also sold British diplomatic dispatches and codes to the Italian government.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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