BND employee and accomplice: indictment in Russia espionage affair

BND employee and accomplice: indictment in Russia espionage affair

Shortly before Christmas, this news is shocking: in the middle of the Russian war against Ukraine, an employee of the German foreign secret service BND is said to have spied for Moscow.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has indicted an employee of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and an alleged accomplice for allegedly revealing secret information to the Russian secret service FSB. She accuses the two Germans of two cases of particularly serious treason, as the authorities in Karlsruhe announced. The Berlin Court of Appeal must decide whether to admit the charges and a possible trial. “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, WDR, NDR and other media had previously reported on it.

BND employee Carsten L. was arrested in Berlin on December 21 last year and was taken into custody. After the Russian attack on Ukraine last year, he is said to have transmitted information to Russia that he obtained in the course of his work at the BND. According to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, the spied information was a state secret within the meaning of the Criminal Code.

Germany’s highest prosecutor’s office assumes that L. printed out or photographed nine internal BND documents at his workplaces in Berlin and Pullach near Munich on two occasions last September and October. The data is about technical information gathering – the Federal Prosecutor’s Office did not provide any further details.

In January, the federal prosecutor’s office had Arthur E. arrested as a suspected accomplice. The German is said to have brought the secret information spied on by L. to Russia and handed it over to the secret service there. Officials from the Federal Criminal Police Office arrested him at Munich Airport as he entered the United States. The investigation was carried out in close cooperation with the BND and with the support of the US Federal Police FBI, it said.

Charge: 450,000 euros for Carsten L.

According to the current announcement, the FSB is said to have paid Carsten L. 450,000 euros and Arthur E. at least 400,000 euros for their services. L. helped E. get past customs when re-entering the country. The two had known each other since May 2021 and met with a Russian in September last year who made contact with the FSB. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office said E. had been to several meetings in Moscow.

According to the Criminal Code, treason can be punished in particularly serious cases with a prison sentence of at least five years and up to a life sentence. According to the definition, this applies, for example, if the perpetrator has abused a position of responsibility that particularly obliges him to protect state secrets.

Complicity means that everyone is punished as a perpetrator when several people commit a crime together.

The BND is Germany’s foreign intelligence service. It informs the Federal Government about developments of foreign and security policy importance. Around 6,500 people work there.

The accomplice reportedly unpacked

According to the report by “Süddeutscher Zeitung”, WDR and NDR, L. remains silent about the allegations. E., on the other hand, explained everything to the investigators. A Russian entrepreneur is said to have made contact with the FSB. He promised himself a permanent residence permit in Germany. It was also said that the FSB had requested information from the accused about the locations of US rocket launchers and details about the German air defense system.

According to the report, a trial is likely to take place largely behind closed doors because of a lot of information that is classified as secret. There are also disciplinary proceedings against several BND employees for possible violations of service regulations.

In August of this year, investigators from the Federal Criminal Police Office also arrested an employee of the Bundeswehr procurement authority in Koblenz. The accused is said to have worked for a foreign secret service. From May 2023 onwards, he contacted the Russian Consulate General in Bonn and the Russian Embassy in Berlin several times “on his own initiative” and offered cooperation, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said at the time. He transmitted information from his professional activities – “for the purpose of forwarding it to a Russian intelligence service”.

Source: Stern

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