Magazine Says Arrested Iranian Businessman was German Spy | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 11.10.2008
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Magazine Says Arrested Iranian Businessman was German Spy

An Iranian businessman arrested a week ago in Germany on suspicion of illegal exports to Iran was a valued agent of the German foreign intelligence service BND, a German news magazine reported on Saturday.

A man wearing a fedora

Germany is worried about potential tension with Iran over the spy affair

Prosecutors had advised the BND before the arrest they had no choice but to detain the man, 61, who had the code name Sindbad, because of suspicions that he was supplying equipment needed to make Iran's Shabah missiles, German news magazine Der Spiegel said.

In a story to hit the streets in its Monday issue, the magazine said Sindbad's intelligence deliveries to Germany included photographs of tunnel-drilling machinery, details of secret warehouses and up-to-date reports on Iranian missile development work.

His intelligence had been so good that the BND was even concerned he might be a double agent hoodwinking the West on Iran's orders.

Prosecutors announced Wednesday they had detained the man, who has dual Canadian and Iranian nationality, on October 5 on suspicion of breaching a German ban on export of militarily useful goods.

The magazine said Germany was not just concerned about losing a spy who had served the country for a decade and had been paid 1 million euros ($1.4 Million) but also about potential tension with Teheran.

In addition, the BND feared the Iranians would try to assassinate the man in revenge if he were freed from prison in Germany, the magazine reported.

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