Berlin After the arrest of an employee of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) for espionage for Russia, an alleged accomplice is now also in custody. According to the Attorney General in Karlsruhe on Thursday, the man is suspected of bringing the secret information spied on by the BND employee to Russia and handing it over to a secret service there. The man arrested on Sunday when he arrived from the USA at Munich Airport is therefore a German citizen and not a BND employee.
BND employee Carsten L. was arrested in Berlin on December 21 on suspicion of treason. According to the Attorney General, Arthur E., who is now also accused of complicity in treason, is urgently suspected. The investigations were carried out in close cooperation with the BND and with the support of the US federal police, the FBI. The suspect was brought before the investigating judge of the Federal Court of Justice on Monday. He ordered the execution of the pre-trial detention.
After the Russian attack on Ukraine last year, the BND employee, who was arrested in December, is said to have passed on information that he obtained in the course of his work to Russia. The Karlsruhe authorities announced at the time that the spied information was a state secret within the meaning of the Criminal Code. At that time, the suspect’s apartment and two BND properties were searched. Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) had spoken of an important blow against Russian espionage if the suspicion was confirmed.
BND President Bruno Kahl announced in December that extensive internal investigations had been initiated immediately after the intelligence service had become aware of a possible suspected case within its own ranks. When they confirmed the suspicion, the Federal Public Prosecutor was called on immediately. The BND is working closely and trustingly with the investigating authorities in order to thoroughly clarify the case, Kahl explained.
Top jobs of the day
Find the best jobs now and
be notified by email.
According to the Criminal Code, treason can be punished in particularly serious cases with a prison sentence of at least five years or even life imprisonment. Such a case exists, for example, if the perpetrator has abused a responsible position that places him under a special obligation to protect state secrets.
Double agent last busted in 2014
At the time, Kahl emphasized that restraint and discretion were very important in this case. With Russia, on the other hand, we are dealing with an actor “whose unscrupulousness and willingness to use violence we have to reckon with,” he added. Every detail of the process that was made public meant an advantage for this adversary in order to harm Germany.
At the BND itself, a so-called mole – a double agent – was last exposed in 2014. Two years later, the Munich Higher Regional Court sentenced the man to eight years in prison for years of espionage, primarily for the US secret service CIA.
>> Read here: All current developments in the Ukraine war in the Newsblog
The then 32-year-old was found guilty of treason and breach of official secrets. Between 2008 and 2014, the trained office clerk passed on more than 200 BND documents, some of which were top secret or explosive, to the CIA and collected at least 80,000 euros for them.
More: Pro-Russian hackers threaten retaliation for Leopard decision