Yulia Skripal gained access to a secret, £150,000 bank account days before poisoning

Yulia Skripal was targeted in the Salisbury nerve agent attack just days after she gained access to a $200,000 “secret bank account”, her family claims

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According to a source, the money belonged to the 33-year-old’s brother Alexander, who died in mysterious circumstances in St Petersburg last year.

Alexander died aged 43, while on holiday with his girlfriend in St Petersburg. He was said to have been admitted to hospital for liver failure. Relatives deemed the death as “suspicious”. It is suggested that Alexander’s death may have been used to determine where his father lived in the UK. Yulia was made power of attorney at the end of February — just days before she was poisoned alongside her Russian ex-spy dad Sergei.

The cash came from the sale of the house Alexander owned in the UK with ex-wife Natalia, who is the daughter of a GRU military intelligence colonel.

Natalia — now married to a tennis coach from Wales — sold the house, and paid half the sum to her ex-husband. Sergei’s niece Viktoria Skripal, 45, revealed the “secret” bank account as she prepares to meet with Yulia in Salisbury Hospital this week. The British authorities are preparing to grant her a visa so that she can become the first family member to meet Yulia, and also see her uncle Sergei, who remains in a coma.

She said: “Nobody knows this yet, but at the end of February, Yulia received a general power of attorney from her father Sergei in order to take ownership of a secret bank account that belonged to her late brother Alexander. After his divorce, his wife Natalia paid him $200,000, and he kept this money. It is in a Russian bank now.”

Viktoria, who lives in Yaroslavl in Russia, has spoken out about the novichok poisoning on March 4 before — raising concerns over Yulia’s mysterious unnamed boyfriend, whom she had intended to wed. She claimed Yulia was the intended target and had a bust-up with her boyfriend’s mother after he announced they planned to start a family. The mother, who is a highly-ranked Russian security official, is said to have been furious that her son was marrying into the family of a man who betrayed 300 agents.

Natalia, now 45, is married to Welshman Wyn Lewis, a tennis coach in Cyprus. She was left devastated by Alexander’s death six years after they split. Her dad — GRU colonel Gennady Grishchenko — was 66 year old Skripal’s best friend before he was exposed as a “traitor” secretly spying for MI6.

Yulia is now “conscious and talking” and improving rapidly since she was found slumped on a bench alongside Sergei, 66, in Salisbury on March 4.

It is hoped Yulia will now be able to shed light on how she and dad Sergei ended up being poisoned with the potentially-deadly nerve agent.

Investigators have so far been unable to trace their movements and the attempted assassination has sparked a diplomatic row between Britain and Russia, with Russia denying they were behind the attack.

It has since emerged cops quizzed a woman pal of Yulia after she jetted to Britain with a £1 (A$1.80) bag of cereal for stricken spy Sergei over fears the porridge could have been poisoned.

Traces of the poison are said to have been found on the front door of Sergei’s home in Salisbury.

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