The Russian model who was rushed to hospital with her husband following a nerve agent scare at a Salisbury restaurant has denied they plotting an ‘elaborate hoax’.
Anna Shapiro and her husband Alex King were taken to hospital on Sunday after falling violently ill at the Prezzo Italian.
Emergency services cordoned off the scene and declared it a major incident – harking back to scenes which resembled the Novichok poisoning of Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.
Russian model Anna Shapiro has denied claims that she was involved in a hoax regarding the alleged poisoning in Salisbury on Sunday
She said she fell ill while dining out at the restaurant with her husband Alex King
Ms Shapiro revealed her belief that she was the target of a hit ordered by Vladimir Putin, claiming that she hated the regime in Russia.
She tested negative for Novichok and has been discharged from hospital, and a police source said they are investigating whether they were part of a hoax.
A statement from Janes Solicitors, on behalf of Ms Shapiro, said: ‘There has been some media speculation that our client may have participated in an elaborate hoax as regards her fear of her husband’s poisoning at Prezzo Restaurant on Sunday 16th September and its possible cause.
‘She has asked Janes Solicitors to emphasise that she was not involved in any hoax and that her fears were genuine, both as to the poisoning and her suspicion of foul play.
Alex King and his wife Anna Shapiro were eating at a Prezzo restaurant
Ms Shapiro is a part-time model from Russia who has criticised Putin in the past. It’s claimed she is trying to embroil herself in a police investigation against the Russians to extend her visa
Anna Shapiro said she was the target of an assassination attempt on behalf of Vladimir Putin
‘However, as the incident is now being investigated by the Wiltshire Police force, it is not appropriate to comment further at this stage.
‘We ask that the media respect our client’s privacy whilst she recovers from her ordeal.’
Wiltshire Police said both Ms Shapiro and Mr King have been interviewed and there have been no arrests made as the investigation continues.
A spokesman for the restaurant, which reopened on Thursday, said its staff had been ‘brave and resilient’ during the ‘very difficult’ incident.
He added: ‘As you will understand, we will not speculate any further on the individuals involved: this is now a matter between them and the police.’