Police investigating after Russian spy allegedly poisoned in New Zealand

New Zealand Police say they have launched an inquiry after a Russian spy was allegedly poisoned after he fled here.

Boris Karpichkov, a former senior KGB agent, says he was the victim of a poison attack when he was living in Auckland 12 years ago.

Mr Karpichkov claims he was walking down Auckland's Queen St in 2006 when he noticed a "common beggar" in his side-vision.

"Before this happened I also noticed that there were other people following me," he told Good Morning Britain

"She tried to grab my bag. I instantly remove with both hands and next what I felt was dust... into my throat and face.

"Then [the] beggar just walked away."

But 100m down the road he says he "nearly passed out".

"My head started spinning, I started sweating."

In the evening he says his nose started running and his eyes started "scratching and running".

His doctor in New Zealand told him it was a common flu, he says. But in the months to follow he lost 30kg - a third of his body weight - which he believes was a side-effect of the unknown powder.

"Police are aware that Mr Karpichkov was in New Zealand between June 2006 and October 2007," a Police spokesperson says.

"We are currently examining our files to assess what information we may hold about Mr Karpichkov. Given the historic nature of this matter it is likely to take some time to complete this assessment."