The German prosecutors office has officially charged two individuals with suspected treason on Friday, after they were indicted on August 24. The two suspects referred to as Carsten L and Arthur E were accused of high treason through the passing on of state secrets to Russia’s Secret Service. Both are currently being held in pre-trial detention.
Carsten L is an officer in the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) and has an obligation to confidentiality and loyalty to the service. Carsten L has allegedly known businessman Arthur E for 2 years who has been in contact with another individual who has ties to FSB (Russian domestic intelligence service) since last year. All three individuals allegedly devised a plan to share BND sensitive inventory data to the FSB through data processing systems – 9 documents were passed over to the FBS through the two suspects. Over several months, the suspects were able to source more information after being given questions and prompts from the FSB. In total both suspects received at least €425,000 in cash each for their work in November 2022. The suspects were arrested in December 2022 and January 2023. The disclosure of the information created a massive external security risk for the Federal Republic of Germany.
These arrests and indictments may be considered a part of Germany’s plan to reduce Russian influence especially during the Russia-Ukraine conflict, where Germany supports Ukraine financially and militarily. In spring 2022, Germany removed over 30 Russian diplomats who were considered a threat to domestic security as part of the crackdown. More recently, a man identified as Thomas H was suspected of providing information to the Russian Secret Service on the German military’s equipment and IT department, where he was employed. Thomas H is still being investigated. A report by the German Security Service warned against the risk of an aggressive Russian espionage operation as the war continues. It stated that both Western sanctions against Russia and Germany’s support of Ukraine meant that Russia had more reason and more interest in gathering information from Berlin to be relayed back to Moscow.