German translator in China espionage scandal

15th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

15 December 2004, KARLSRUHE - A woman translator, 43, tried to sell to China the manuals for electronics that control all the weapons aboard Germany's crack new Type 212A submarines, a court heard on Wednesday. She was caught when a Canadian counter-espionage agent posed as a Chinese buyer and met her in a bar. Because the official secrets will be presented at the trial, the public was excluded from the courtroom in the western city of Koblenz after charges were read. Michaela T., who was born in Germany b

15 December 2004

KARLSRUHE - A woman translator, 43, tried to sell to China the manuals for electronics that control all the weapons aboard Germany's crack new Type 212A submarines, a court heard on Wednesday.

She was caught when a Canadian counter-espionage agent posed as a Chinese buyer and met her in a bar. Because the official secrets will be presented at the trial, the public was excluded from the courtroom in the western city of Koblenz after charges were read.

Michaela T., who was born in Germany but has been a naturalised US citizen since 1983, has been in custody since she was arrested while visiting her German parents in September. Her full name has been withheld in line with German journalistic ethics guidelines.

The trial is expected to hear how the German manufacturers of the sophisticated weaponry, hoping for export sales, saw no risk in hiring a freelance translator living in Canada to work up an English version of the operating instructions.

T. has been indicted for attempted treason in October 2003.

Prosecutors say she telephoned the Chinese embassy in Ottawa, offering to sell the documents, but the Canadian authorities were aware of the approach. The undercover agent, pretending to be Chinese, made contact and met her on two separate occasions.

Senior prosecutor Wolf-Dieter Dietrich told the state superior court she had been willing to compromise Germany's external security for the sake of money. He told the court she had been short of money and had had got into an argument with her German client over fees.

After the call to the embassy, the undercover man met her in a bar in Canada and she agreed to sell him the manuals for CAD 105,000 (EUR 64,000), the indictment said.

The torpedo-armed 212A, designed by shipyard HDW, is the world's first series submarine with a fuel-cell propulsion system, said to have all the benefits of nuclear power with none of the disadvantages.

It enables the vessel to operate submerged for several weeks at a time, with no noise or heat from exhaust fumes that could give it away to sub-hunters.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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