Benito Mussolini may be among history's most notorious fascist dictators, but evidence suggests he worked for British secret services during World War I.
Historian Dr Peter Martland says MI5 records show it paid "Il Duce" £100 per week, about £5,000 today,to spread pro-war propaganda via his newspaper.
The Cambridge University academic made the discovery while studying the papers of former agent Sir Samuel Hoare MP.
However, Dr Martland believes Mussolini probably spent the cash on womanising.
"Mussolini was the ace womaniser and of course, he's spent most of it on his women," he suggests.
Dr Martland said the payments were agreed in 1917, after Russia collapsed into the Bolshevik revolution and Italy was "smashed" at the Battle of Caporetto.