German charged for spying for Russia

Photo: Bundestag German Bundestag.

German prosecutors announced on Thursday that they have filed spying charges against a man suspected of passing floor plans of German parliament to Russian secret services, news wires reported.

The suspect, a German national named only as Jens F., worked for a company that was repeatedly contracted by the Bundestag to carry out regular checks on electric equipment across parliament premises. "Against this background, the defendant had access to PDF files with the floor plans of parliamentary properties,” said federal prosecutors cited by the AFP.

The suspect is believed to have decided sometime in the summer of 2017 to pass on the information to Russian secret services. "For that, he prepared a data carrier with the corresponding PDF files and sent it to an employee in the Russian embassy in Berlin, who mainly works for the Russian military secret service GRU," prosecutors said.

The case came at a time of particularly rocky ties between Berlin and Moscow over the case of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The West has accused Russia over the Novichok poisoning of Navalny, who was treated in Berlin before he returned to Moscow last month.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has always stressed the importance of keeping dialogue open with Putin as she walks a fine diplomatic line to keep Russia engaged. But even the usually unflappable German leader has voiced frustration over Russia's behaviour, including its repeated cyberattacks against the West.

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