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Germany charges two men with treason in Russia spying case

September 8, 2023

The two suspects are accused of passing on sensitive documents to Russia's domestic secret service, the FSB. One of the accused was an employee of the German foreign intelligence agency.

German secret service BND logo
A former employee of Germany's foreign intelligence agency is accused of handing classified information to Russian authorities with the help of an accompliceImage: Christophe Gateau/dpa/picture alliance

The German federal prosecutor's office said Friday that it was bringing charges against two men accused of spying for Russia.

Prosecutors said that both suspects were accused of high treason for passing on state secrets.

The indictment was made on August 24.

What are the two suspects accused of?

One of the suspects, identified only as Carsten L. in line with German privacy law, worked at Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND. He was arrested in Berlin on December 21.

The federal prosecutor's office said he was in contact with his alleged accomplice, identified as Arthur E., since May 2021. E. was arrested on January 22 after returning from the United States.

Prosecutors said E. was linked to a Russian businessman who in turn had contacts in the Russian secret service, the FSB.

Prosecutors allege L. acquired nine documents from the BND's internal system, which he then passed on to E., who photographed the documents and handed over printed copies to the FSB in Moscow.

Suspect allegedly went to Moscow multiple times

Arthur E. allegedly met with FSB officials several times during trips to Moscow. Prosecutors say these visits were organized and financed by the Russian businessman.

E. was allegedly given a list of questions by the FSB and L. procured the answers using information from BND files, which prosecutors say contained "state secrets."

The federal prosecutor's office says the FSB paid L. €450,000 (around $483,000) and E. at least the same sum. E. allegedly picked up the funds in cash in Moscow on November 22.

L. is accused of arranging for his accomplice to be "smuggled" through customs upon his return to Germany for alleged professional reasons.

sdi/nm (AFP, dpa)

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