Investigators from the Federal Criminal Police Office have arrested an employee of the Bundeswehr procurement authority on suspicion of acting as a secret service agent for Russia. The man's apartment and workplace were also searched, as the federal prosecutor announced in Karlsruhe in the late afternoon.
The accused is strongly suspected of having worked for a foreign secret service. The Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) in Koblenz is responsible for equipping the Bundeswehr with material and weapons and for developing, testing and procuring defense technology.
Man is said to have offered himself as a spy
An arrest warrant from the investigating judge of the Federal Court of Justice was available against the suspect, which was the basis for the arrest. According to the report, the accused contacted the Russian Consulate General in Bonn and the Russian Embassy in Berlin several times "of his own accord" from May of this year onwards and offered to cooperate. In doing so, he had transmitted information from his professional activity - "for the purpose of forwarding it to a Russian intelligence service".
The investigations were carried out in close cooperation with the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The accused was brought before the investigating judge of the Federal Court of Justice today and was taken into custody.
Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser praised the work of the authorities. "This case also shows that our security authorities are keeping an eye on Russian espionage in Germany and are taking consistent measures against it," the SPD politician told the newspapers of the Funke media group. "Our security authorities are extremely vigilant. We have joined forces and ramped up protective measures to protect ourselves against the current threats." The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine also changed the security situation in Germany. "The threat of espionage, disinformation campaigns and cyber attacks has taken on another dimension."
Another alleged case of espionage caused a stir
In December last year, a suspected case of espionage in the Federal Intelligence Service caused an international stir. An employee had been arrested on suspicion of treason. He was accused of having passed secret information to a Russian intelligence service. The federal prosecutor announced at the time that the content was a state secret within the meaning of the Criminal Code. According to the Criminal Code, treason can be punished with a prison sentence of at least five years or even life imprisonment in particularly serious cases like this one.
The German security authorities have recently intensified their efforts against espionage by Russian services. In response to the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, European states had also expelled Russian agents. The federal government declared 40 members of the Russian embassy in Berlin to be undesirable.
In November last year, a former reserve officer in the Bundeswehr was found guilty of being a spy in the service of Russia. The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court sentenced him to one year and nine months on probation for being an agent in the secret service. The man provided the Russian military intelligence service GRU with information for years - including about the Bundeswehr's reservist system and the effects of EU sanctions against Russia after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the court explained. He was driven by an "extremely pro-Russian attitude and the urge to make himself popular and important to Russian military personnel."