German police have arrested a British national who worked at the United Kingdom’s embassy in Berlin on suspicion of passing documents to the Russian intelligence service in exchange for money.
German prosecutors said in a statement that the man’s apartment and workplace had been searched and he would be brought before an investigating judge later on August 12th to determine whether he should be remanded in custody.
The statement added that the suspect, identified only as David S, “on at least one occasion passed on documents he acquired as part of his professional activities to a representative of Russian intelligence”.
“The accused received a cash payment in an unspecified amount in return,” it said. The suspect was believed to have been spying since November 2020 “at the latest”.
Additionally, Germany’s Foreign Ministry said it was taking the case seriously, adding that spying on allied states on German soil is unacceptable.
A spokesman for the ministry said that it would closely monitor the German public prosecutors’ investigations.
The individual identified as David S was arrested in Potsdam, just outside of Berlin on August 11th.
He was employed as a local staff member at the UK embassy until his arrest, the result of a joint investigation by German and British authorities, prosecutors said.
British police confirmed in a statement that the 57-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of offences relating to being engaged in “Intelligence Agent activity” under German law and that the German authorities would retain primacy over the probe.
Germany has arrested several people in recent years accused of spying for Russia, but the capture of a citizen of a closely allied country is highly unusual.
In June, German police arrested a Russian scientist working at a German university accused of working for Russian secret services. He was also suspected of accepting cash in exchange for his services.
In 2017, German prosecutors in February filed espionage charges against a German man suspected of having passed the floor plans of parliament to Russian secret services in 2017.
In June, Italy said it had created a national cybersecurity agency following warnings by Prime Minister Mario Draghi that Europe needs to protect itself from Russian “interference”.
The move came after an Italian navy captain was caught red-handed by police selling confidential military documents from his computer to a Russian embassy official.
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