Employee in Angela Merkel′s press office suspected of spying for Egypt | News | DW | 10.07.2020
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Employee in Angela Merkel's press office suspected of spying for Egypt

A man suspected of spying for Egypt was working in the German government press office until December 2019. Authorities believe Egypt recruits individuals to spy on opposition groups living in Germany.

An employee of Germany's Federal Press Office was found to have worked for an Egyptian secret service for years, according to a report presented on Thursday by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.

"We are not commenting on ongoing investigations or on personnel matters," said Steffen Seibert, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman and the head of the Federal Press Office.

The man is said to have been working for the visitor service of the press office as a mid-level employee, according to the German daily Bild. This means he would have completed an exam and at least two years of vocational training to obtain the job.

According to the report, German police carried out "executive measures" against the man in December 2019. The premises of the visitor service were searched as part of the investigation, Bild reported.

Read more: Austria angry at Germany over 'enormous' spy effort

The Federal Public Prosecutor confirmed that the man was charged for suspicion of espionage and that the investigation is still ongoing.

"There are indications that Egyptian services are trying to recruit Egyptians living in Germany for intelligence purposes through their visits to Egyptian diplomatic missions in Germany and their trips to Egypt," the report said. 

The German government believes that Egyptian secret services seek to gather information about Egyptians living in Germany who may be members of the Muslim Brotherhood, but also members of the Coptic Christian community.

Read more: Academic upgrade for Germany's spies

Egypt has been ruled by the military since 1952, with a brief interlude in 2012 when Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected president before being deposed by current President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. in 2013.

The case of the suspected Egyptian spy was part of a report presented in Berlin by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, whose key findings showed that right-wing extremism in Germany had sharply increased last year.

jcg/ng (dpa, AFP)

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