The scandal is the biggest to hit a European spy service for decades
Germany’s foreign intelligence service is investigating a second possible Russian spy in its ranks, it has emerged.
Carsten L, who oversaw recruitment of the German federal intelligence service (BND), was arrested in December after allegedly passing secrets on to Moscow.
Last Sunday, German police arrested a former German soldier, Arthur E, at Munich Airport on suspicion of acting as a “courier” for the official.
The BND is now investigating whether another of its employees was involved in the plot, ferrying Arthur E past airport security, according to Der Spiegel.
The scandal is the biggest to hit a European spy service for decades and has undermined international trust in the BND. Arthur E was said to have made several trips to Moscow with documents relating to the war in Ukraine, including those possibly intercepted in covert operations.
After his arrest, Arthur E told investigators that he believed he was on a secret mission for the BND, and not an accomplice of a turncoat.
The 31-year-old said upon returning on one trip from Moscow, he handed over an envelope stuffed with cash from the Russians to an unnamed man. The man, said to be a BND colleague of Carsten L, allegedly helped smuggle Arthur E out of an airport building through a special area before customs controls after his arrival.
However, the alleged middleman could have acted unwittingly and the suspicions against him have not been substantiated.
Investigators felt that there was reason to believe the BND employee may not have known what he was involved in. They did not give much credence to Arthur E’s similar claims, Der Spiegel reported.
Carsten L is being investigated for suspected treason, which can be punished with sentences ranging from one year to life in prison.
Arthur E, whose Russian citizenship was revoked in 1999, faces the same charges. He was arrested returning to Germany from the US after a joint investigation by the BND and the FBI.
According to reports, Arthur E had already been interviewed by US investigators, who seized his laptop, hard drive and mobile phones, before making his return trip to Europe. During interrogations in Germany, he detailed at least two trips to Moscow, where he met contacts arranged for him by Carsten L.
He said on one occasion Russia’s FSB bemoaned the quality of the intelligence handed to them. Flight information from the trips, which were taken last year between October 6 and November 11, could not be identified, giving the appearance the FSB had worked to conceal the journeys.
Arthur E, who has Russian roots, was born in 1991, but has spent most of his life living as a German.
In 2009, he signed up for a 12-year stint in the German military, training as an IT specialist and non-commissioned officer. But in 2015, the then 24-year-old requested to end his service early.
Telegraph Media Group Limited