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Germany charges suspected triple agent with treason

A German man has been accused of spying for Russian and American intelligence while working for the German BND agency. Prosecutors say he sold information on German agents and operations abroad.

The 32-year old Markus R. is facing charges of taking bribes, breach of secrecy and treason, German prosecutors said on Thursday.

"The accused provided the CIA - in exchange for financial compensation - scores of documents and internal information," they said in a statement, adding that Markus put Germany's security "at a serious disadvantage."

Some of the confidential documents exposed details of the BND's work and personnel abroad, the prosecutors say.

Reports say Markus is accused of stealing a list with names and addresses of individual agents, as well as info on BND's counterespionage efforts, and sold it to the CIA. Mass circulation newspaper "Bild" reported the list could jeopardize thousands of German agents.

The BND employee received a total of 95,000 euros ($106,000) for the data he sent to the CIA before his arrest in July 2014.

Triple trade

Markus had joined the BND intelligence service in 2007, where he handled mail and classified documents in the "Target areas / Foreign relations" department.

The authorities believe he contracted the CIA as early as 2008. He also allegedly offered his services to the Russian consulate in Munich in 2014, and started supplying them with data.

If convicted, the former BND employee could face up to 15 years in prison, according to the AFP news agency.

Markus was arrested last summer, in the wake of the NSA scandal sparked by revelations that American agencies spy on the top German politicians. The controversy burdened the relations between Berlin and Washington and prompted Germany to order the top US intelligence officer out of the country.

dj/sgb (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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