Suspended term for Eurocopter ex-engineer who spied for Russia

17th June 2008, Comments 0 comments

Helicopter manufacturer executive is sentenced for spying for Russia

Munich -- A former executive at Eurocopter, the helicopter manufacturing company in the EADS group, received a suspended, 11-month prison term on Monday from a German court for spying for Russia.

Judges in Munich found the 44-year-old engineer had sold documents about the company's helicopters to an agent of the SVR foreign-intelligence service between 2004 and 2006 for a total 13,000 euros.

The sentence was reduced and suspended because he made a confession that led to the arrest of others who helped the SVR.

Prosecutors said he had used anonymous webmail accounts, the modern equivalent of the old-fashioned spy's dead drop, to arrange meetings to pass over technical data, manuals and other documents about helicopters. He was arrested in April 2007.

A spokesman for European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co (EADS) said last week, "According to what we know currently, the company was not harmed in any way." The data had not been classified.

Prosecutors said the data about civilian helicopters might however have given Russia an advantage in dealing with military versions of the same aircraft.

The defendant, who joined the Franco-German helicopter company in 1992 and also works as a pilot, is no longer employed at Eurocopter and runs his own engineering consultancy. He said he had been in debt and hoped the SVR man would help him gain business.


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