BND warns against Russian takeover of Telekom

28th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

28 November 2006, Berlin (dpa) - An intelligence agency has reportedly warned that Germans' phones might be tapped by the Kremlin if a Russian company took over the Deutsche Telekom group, Germany's main telecommunications company. However Berlin said Monday it had not even been thinking of selling Telekom shares to the Russian company Sistema. The report surfaced in the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel, which said Germany's BND foreign intelligence service was concerned that Sistema, controlled by Russian bi

28 November 2006

Berlin (dpa) - An intelligence agency has reportedly warned that Germans' phones might be tapped by the Kremlin if a Russian company took over the Deutsche Telekom group, Germany's main telecommunications company.

However Berlin said Monday it had not even been thinking of selling Telekom shares to the Russian company Sistema.

The report surfaced in the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel, which said Germany's BND foreign intelligence service was concerned that Sistema, controlled by Russian billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov, might secure a major stake in the phone and internet provider.

It quoted an anonymous "security expert" saying the Russians might intercept communications between government departments, companies and individuals. The newspaper warned the Russians might also seek access to encryption keys used by Telekom's mobile-phone unit.

Yevtushenkov voiced interest in buying part of Telekom in an interview published November 19 in the news magazine Der Spiegel.

The German government controls 31.7 per cent of the stockmarket- listed company, either directly or through a state bank.

A spokesman for the German Finance Ministry, which exercises the control, said an acquisition by Sistema of part of Telekom was not under discussion, so the alleged BND concerns were "meaningless."

DPA

Subject: German news

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