German police have arrested this Wednesday in the city of Koblenz, in western Germany, a senior official of the Ministry of Defense of that country on suspicion of being a spy for the Russian intelligence services. The public employee, identified as Thomas H. and a German national, has been arrested in a secret operation that included entering his home and searching his workplace.
The alleged informant is an employee of the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces. The department in which he worked is responsible for equipping the German army with materiel and weapons, as well as for developing, testing and acquiring defense technology.
According to the German Public Prosecutor’s Office, in May 2023 Thomas H. contacted the Russian consulate in Bonn and the Moscow embassy in Berlin “of his own free will” and offered to work for them. That work consisted of transmitting information about his professional activities. “On one occasion he transmitted information obtained in the course of his professional activity, with the aim of transferring it to a Russian secret service,” the institution has reported.
The investigations have been carried out in close collaboration with the Federal Office of the Military Counter-Intelligence Service and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the internal intelligence service of the Berlin government. After learning of the alleged involvement of this official, the investigating judge of the Federal Court of Justice issued an arrest warrant against him.
The new case of Russian espionage in Germany is the second of its kind in the last nine months. In December 2022, a department head of the Federal Information Service (BND, in its German acronym) was arrested in Berlin and accused of high treason for transmitting information classified as state secrets to Moscow intelligence.
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The BND – the foreign espionage department equivalent to the CIA in Germany – then admitted having a traitor in its ranks by announcing that one of its agents had been arrested by order of the Prosecutor’s Office. This official is being investigated for an alleged crime of treason against the State. The agent, identified as Carsten L. and a German national, has been in pretrial detention ever since.
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