Germany Arrests Unprecedented Six Spies In Less Than A Week

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Apr 24, 2024 - 02:20 PM

German security services say they've arrested an unprecedented six suspected spies in only the past week, and four of these are believed to have been working for the government of China, while the other two are suspected Russian agents

As we reported earlier, the latest case unveiled Tuesday centered on a staffer who worked for a high profile German AfD member of European Parliament. Identified only as Jian G., he had reportedly been a staff member for German MEP Maximilian Krah going back to 2019. "In January 2024 the accused repeatedly shared information about negotiations and decisions in the European Parliament with his intelligence service employer," the prosecutors office said.

The day prior, Monday, saw three German citizens accused of having ties with Chinese intelligence arrested. Their case appears even more serious as it involves allegations they transported sensitive technology to China which has potential military uses, violating Germany's export laws. 

Chinese Embassy in Germany

One suspect tried to export a specialized laser without permission, alongside two others - a German couple - who also sought to procure advanced technologies which investigators suspect were to help Chinese naval development

The couple allegedly set up a research transfer agreement with an unidentified German university, the first step in which was to draw up a study for a Chinese partner on the technology of machine parts that could be used for powerful ship engines, including those in battleships. Thomas R.'s handler at the MSS was behind the Chinese partner and the project was financed by the Chinese state, prosecutors said.

At the time of the arrests, the suspects were in negotiations on further research projects that could be useful for expanding China's naval combat strength, they added.

Thomas Haldenwang, president of Germany's domestic intelligence service, said following of the detentions: "We initiated these investigations, and once the evidence was clear, we were able to hand this case over to the police and the public prosecutors," according to DW.

And head of the Parliamentary Control Committee for the Intelligence Services in the lower house, the Bundestag, said, "We must finally understand that this is a very serious and very real threat to our security." He added, "We must act quickly and decisively both through criminal prosecution and by uncovering the structures and networks."

According to more from German federal prosecutors

One of the suspects, identified only as Thomas R. in line with German privacy laws, was allegedly an agent for an employee of China's Ministry of State Security and procured information in Germany on "militarily usable innovative technologies" for that person, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

The three suspects had reportedly been working on expanding their research contacts and endeavors reportedly in hopes of procuring further sensitive technologies which might be useful for the Chinese government.

The timing of this significant spy round-up involving China came at an interesting moment - just a week following the three day visit of Chancellor Olaf Scholz to China. It was his second trip there since taking office in 2021. Germany officials have refused to comment on whether he knew of the investigation or how far it had progressed at the time he made this latest trip.

As for the pair of alleged Russian spies, they are German-Russian citizens who were arrested in Bayreuth, northern Bavaria. They are believed to have been monitoring US Army bases in Germany, particularly ones connected with Pentagon programs to train Ukrainian troops. A BBC report says it went beyond just scouting secretive facilities, but that the spy duo had plans to conduct sabotage operations. Investigators cited "preparing explosive and arson attacks, especially on military and industrial infrastructure. Dieter S is said to have scouted potential targets including US military facilities, taking photos and videos and handing the information to the Russian contact."

And more: "According to the Spiegel website, a US Army facility at Grafenwöhr in Bavaria was spied on. Last year, the US sent dozens of Abrams battle tanks to Bavaria for Ukrainian soldiers to train on at Grafenwöhr and another base at Hohenfels before the tanks were sent to the front line in Ukraine."

Both Russia and China have of late sought to dismiss allegations of significant foreign spy rings in the heart of Europe as but political propaganda and attempts to gain leverage over Beijing on the world stage.