BfV intelligence agency unmasks foreign 'spies'

18th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

18 April 2005, HAMBURG - The German BfV domestic intelligence agency has in recent months uncovered a Chinese and a Russian spy who were collecting military secrets, according to magazine reports on Saturday.

18 April 2005

HAMBURG - The German BfV domestic intelligence agency has in recent months uncovered a Chinese and a Russian spy who were collecting military secrets, according to magazine reports on Saturday.

The Munich-based magazine Focus said the agency had discovered that a Chinese intelligence agent, posing as a diplomat, had been obtaining sensitive information from a former employee of the Dynamit Nobel defence company.

The former arms employee, identified as 60-year-old Hans I. from near Bonn, was offering military documents on new-style ammunition, the magazine said.

The leak was discovered after the BfV bugged the Bonn annex of the Chinese embassy.

Quoting Berlin security sources, Focus said the German man was observed handing over documents to the Chinese intelligence officer on 1 April and was arrested a week later. It said he had admitted part of the allegations.

Focus said Germany was seeking removal of the Chinese official. It said officials feared that an expulsion, as well as the revelation of the bugging, might perturb German-Chinese relations.

Another news magazine, Der Spiegel, reported meanwhile that Alexander Kutsmin, a Russian consul in Hamburg, has also been caught spying.

The magazine said that BfV chief Heinz Fromm flew to Moscow in early December to say the number was up for Kutsmin, who was called home two days later to "avoid a diplomatic fuss".

According to Spiegel, the BfV had observed Kutsmin, who is believed to be an officer of Russia's GRU military secret service, meeting a member of the German military in southern Germany to obtain secret information about German weapons systems and telecommunications.

German military intelligence had confronted the mole, who then agreed to become a double agent. The magazine said that Kutsmin had paid him a total of EUR 10,000 for documents he handed over at about 20 meetings.

Spiegel did not explain if or how the agent's handlers modified the information to make it harmless.

German intelligence also attempted to force Kutsmin to become a double agent by threatening to reveal an extramarital affair. When that failed, they sought his removal from German soil.

The case, described in Spiegel's issue on Monday, has not previously been reported on.

DPA

Subject: German news

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