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German police arrest second Russian spying suspect

German police arrest second Russian spying suspect

German citizen may have ferried to Russia data collected by a spy service analyst
Guests at the visitor center of Germany's federal intelligence service, or BND, in 2019
Guests at the visitor center of Germany's federal intelligence service, or BND, in 2019
Photo credit: Wolfgang Kumm/dpa

German police have detained a second man suspected of passing classified material from the BND foreign intelligence service to Russia, in a case Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck has called “particularly troubling.”

In an emailed statement on Thursday, the federal prosecutor named the man as Arthur E. and said he had been taken into custody at Munich Airport after arriving from the US.

A German citizen and not a government employee, the man is accused of receiving information from a senior analyst for Germany's Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the foreign intelligence service, and traveling to Russia to deliver it to an intelligence service there, according to the statement. The analyst was detained last month.  

The BND case is the latest instance of apparent Russian spying in Germany, a phenomenon that strained relations between Berlin and Moscow even before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine 11 months ago.

German officials have also accused the Kremlin of mounting cyber attacks within the country and seeking to influence the 2021 national election.

Russia has already been suspected of engaging in extrajudicial activity in Germany. In August 2019, a former Chechen military commander was gunned down in broad daylight in a central Berlin park, allegedly at Moscow’s behest.

The investigation into the senior analyst, named as Carsten L., is being conducted in close cooperation with the BND and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, the prosecutor said on Thursday.

German officials are worried that he may have given Russia information that was shared by the US National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ, Focus magazine reported last month, citing unidentified security sources in Berlin.

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