German man charged with espionage for passing Bundestag details to Russia

Germany’s federal prosecutor’s office said Thursday it has charged a man with espionage for allegedly passing details about German parliament properties to Russian intelligence services.

The suspect, identified as a German citizen named Jens F., worked for a company commissioned by the Bundestag on multiple occasions to run checks on portable electronic devices, the federal prosecutor’s office said in a press release. This allowed him to gain access to floor plans of various parliament buildings.

“At the latest in the period from the end of July 2017 to the beginning of September 2017, the accused decided on his own initiative to pass on the information about the properties of the German Bundestag to Russian intelligence services,” the federal prosecutor’s office said.

“For this purpose, he produced a data carrier with the corresponding PDF files and sent it to an employee in the Russian embassy in Berlin, who works full-time for the Russian military intelligence service GRU.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last year she had “hard evidence” that Russia’s GRU intelligence service was responsible for an “outrageous” cyberattack on the Bundestag that occurred in 2015 and also targeted her own parliamentary email account. The EU imposed sanctions on two Russian officials and part of the GRU over the attack.

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