German intelligence official held in Russia spying probe

BERLIN: An official for Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency has been arrested on suspicion of treason for allegedly passing state secrets to Russia, officials said Thursday (Dec 22).

The official, named as Carsten L, “transmitted information that he had obtained in the course of his professional activities to Russian intelligence services”, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

He was arrested on Wednesday in Berlin, with authorities searching his workplace and apartment and of one other person.

“Investigations were conducted in close cooperation with the BND,” the statement added.

The suspect allegedly passed the information to Russia this year. He was remanded in custody after appearing before a judge.

The case comes at a time of soaring tensions between Berlin and Moscow following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

BND president Bruno Kahl said the agency would not comment further on the case for now, as “restraint and discretion are very important”.

“With Russia, we are dealing with an actor whose unscrupulousness and willingness to use violence have to be reckoned with,” he said.

“Every detail of this operation that becomes public means an advantage for this adversary in its intention to harm Germany.”

Germany has faced several spying cases with links to Russia in recent years, as have other European countries.

Last month a German man was handed a suspended sentence for passing information to Russian intelligence services while working as a reserve officer for the German army.