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Arrest. BND employee spied for Russia

arrest
It is said that BND employees spied for Russia

A BND employee was arrested on suspicion of espionage against Russia. photo:

© Wolfgang Kumm/dpa

The security agencies have been warning for a long time about the growth of espionage by Russia in Germany. Now the Prosecutor General has arrested the employee of the Federal Intelligence Service.

An employee of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is now in custody for allegedly betraying classified information to the Russian intelligence service. The Prosecutor General suspects him of treason.

It is noted that the German transferred the information he acquired during his work this year to Russia. The authorities in Karlsruhe declared that the content was a state secret within the meaning of the Criminal Code. The representative of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office did not say whether this happened after the beginning of the Russian aggressive war against Ukraine.

Officials from the Federal Criminal Police Office arrested the man in Berlin on Wednesday. According to the report, the apartment and workplace of the accused and another person were searched. On Thursday, the investigative judge of the Federal Court of Justice issued a restraining order. According to the BND, two secret service properties were searched.

“If the suspicions are confirmed, then an important blow has been dealt to Russian espionage here,” Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) said on Twitter. “It shows how vigilant we should be.”

After the BND became aware of a possible suspicious incident in its ranks as part of its intelligence work, the service immediately launched extensive internal investigations, BND chairman Bruno Kahl said in Berlin. When they confirmed their suspicions, they immediately called the federal prosecutor. “We are working closely and confidently with the investigative authorities to thoroughly clarify the case,” Kahl said.

Treason carries a life sentence

According to the Criminal Code, treason can be punished by at least five years in prison or life imprisonment in such particularly serious cases. There is such a case, for example, if the criminal abused the position of responsibility, which obliges to protect the state secret.

Out of consideration for ongoing investigations, the BND will not publicly comment on the details of the case until further notice, Kahl emphasized. “In this specific case, restraint and discretion are very important. With Russia, on the other hand, we are dealing with an actor “whose dishonesty and willingness to use violence must be taken into account,” added the head of Germany’s foreign intelligence.

The reason for these statements could be the concern about the possible dangers of contacts and informants of the German secret service in Russia, who could be betrayed by the alleged spy in the ranks of the BND.

Kahl emphasized that every detail of the process that was made public “means an advantage for this adversary with the intention of harming Germany.” Therefore, the success of the investigation in this case depends on “as little as possible being made public until the Attorney General has completed his investigation.”

Suspicion of espionage also abroad

Earlier in the week, Austria’s Interior Ministry announced that a 39-year-old Greek man had been identified as a suspected spy for Russia’s GRU military intelligence service. A man of Russian origin is suspected of providing information on political and social discourses in Austria related to Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine.

The so-called mole in the BND, a double agent, was last exposed in 2014. Two years later, the man was sentenced by the highest district court in Munich to eight years in prison for years of spying, mostly for the US secret service the CIA. At that time, the 32-year-old man was found guilty of high treason and violating official secrets.

Between 2008 and 2014, a trained office worker passed over 200 BND documents, some of which were top secret or explosive, to the CIA and collected at least €80,000 for them. He gave a confession in court. The motivations he gave were boredom, frustration and lack of challenge in his work.

Among the documents was a database containing the code and real names of German agents abroad. The man is said to have threatened the life of a BND source abroad. In 2014, he also offered himself to the Russian secret service via e-mail.

Notification of the Criminal Code on high treason Criminal Code on state secrets

dpa:

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