Russian diplomat expelled for espionage

Status: 01/28/2022 3:36 p.m

According to “Spiegel” information, the federal government has again expelled a Russian diplomat from the country. He was exposed as a spy in investigations against an employee of a Bavarian university.

Another diplomat from Russia has been expelled from the country’s federal government. This is reported by the “Spiegel”. The employee at the consulate in Munich had been declared an “undesirable person”. A person familiar with the process told the “Spiegel” that he was a full-time employee of the Russian foreign intelligence service SWR and was only ostensibly accredited as a diplomat.

The agent was caught during an investigation by the Federal Public Prosecutor against a research assistant at a university in Bavaria. The young scientist Ilnur N. is said to have forwarded information on research projects in the field of aerospace to the SWR. Specifically, reports on the development status of the European launcher Ariane and data from materials research are said to have been discussed.

Until his arrest on June 18, 2021, he worked at a scientific and technical chair. After his arrest, the University of Augsburg confirmed that it was one of their employees. The Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office announced on Thursday that they had filed a lawsuit against Ilnur N. for “secret service agent activity” before the State Protection Senate of the Higher Regional Court in Munich.

Diplomatic status protected command officer

According to the investigators, SWR had contacted the scientist by autumn 2019 at the latest. From the end of November 2019, the commanding officer of the Russian foreign intelligence service stationed in Germany met Ilnur N. regularly. In return for the information, he received cash totaling 2,500 euros.

N. told investigators he didn’t know he was dealing with Russian intelligence. However, the German prosecutors could not prosecute N.’s commanding officer because of his diplomatic status. According to “Spiegel”, he had to leave the Federal Republic shortly after N’s ​​arrest. That was previously unknown.

More cases

It is rare for the officers in charge of suspected spies to be exposed during investigations. Recently there had been several reports of espionage or attempted espionage. A porter at the British Embassy in Berlin is said to have passed information on to a Russian intelligence service at least since November 2020. After his arrest last year, Great Britain requested his extradition.

At the end of October 2021, a 56-year-old in Berlin was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on probation for working as a secret service agent. The Berlin Court of Appeal saw it as proven that the man from Potsdam had passed on sensitive data. According to investigators, the man decided “of his own accord” to send a CD with floor plans of Bundestag properties to the Russian military intelligence service GRU by post. A contact from the Russian side could not be proven.

search for accomplices

In connection with the murder in Berlin’s Kleiner Tiergarten on August 23, 2019, proceedings are still ongoing against possible accomplices who spied on the site of the attack and escape routes and who might have supported the perpetrator in other ways. At the hearing before the Berlin Superior Court, witnesses named the name of a Russian who had applied for a Schengen visa with data that were strikingly similar to those of the Russian defendant and who had entered the EU shortly before the crime. The accused was sentenced to life imprisonment on December 15, 2021. The court spoke of “state terrorism”. A total of four Russian diplomats were expelled in connection with this act.

The unexplained death of a Russian diplomat in Berlin in October 2021 caused a stir. He had fallen out of a window in the building complex belonging to the Russian embassy on the Behrenstrasse side. The German security authorities said he was a camouflaged employee of a Russian secret service.

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