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MUNICH – German authorities have arrested a former secret service spy on suspicion of having carried out “secret service activities” for China, the federal prosecutor said on Tuesday.
According to a press release from the public prosecutor’s office, the man – just called Klaus L. – is said to have provided the Chinese secret service with information for almost a decade from 2010 onwards.
At the same time, however, he was an informant for the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND). The ARD reported that the 75-year-old man had provided the BND with information for 50 years and led a “double life”.
In public he was a political scientist and worked from the 1980s until his retirement for the Hanns Seidel Foundation – a foundation for political research closely connected to the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of Angela Merkel’s Conservatives. Since 2001 he has also headed a think tank.
The suspect was arrested on Monday on charges filed in May, the prosecutor said.
As part of his work, he often traveled abroad, for example for guest lectures, across “the former Soviet Union and later Russia, the Balkans, South Africa and South Asia”, reported the ARD Think Tank with foreign guests. The Hanns Seidel Foundation informed the broadcaster that it had no knowledge of the man’s BND activities.
In 2010, according to the public prosecutor’s office, he traveled to Shanghai to give a lecture and was “approached by members of a Chinese secret service in order to win him over to cooperation.”
“As a result, the accused regularly transmitted information to the Chinese secret service before or after state visits or multinational conferences as well as on current events until November 2019,” the public prosecutor said in a statement.
According to ARD, the suspect, whose apartment was searched in November 2019, did not deny spying for China, but insisted that the BND had at least initially informed the BND of his contacts with the Chinese.