Friday

22nd Sep 2017

Alleged Russian spies wanted EU and Nato secrets

  • Berlin: neither Russia or the Netherlands have responded so far (Photo: Wolfgang Staudt)

Germany has indicted two alleged Russian spies who tried to get hold of EU and Nato secrets.

The office of the German federal prosector said in a statement on Thursday (27 September) that the married couple, who were arrested last year, "had the task of gathering information about the political and military strategy of the EU and Nato."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It added that between 2008 and 2011 they worked with a Russian agent in the Dutch foreign ministry who gave them "official" EU and Nato documents.

It said they also gave Moscow their "own information" collected from German political and social contacts about relations between Germany, Russia, the EU and Nato.

It noted that the Russian foreign intelligence service, the SVR, paid them about €100,000 a year. They used to get their SVR instructions via shortwave radio. They filed reports using satellite communications and a video link on the Internet. They used dead drops to get material from the Dutch agent.

The prosecutor also noted that they were born in South America and came to Germany in 1988 with fake Austrian identities.

They used the aliases "Heidrun A." and "Andreas A." and created a "bourgeois existence" to cover up their activities.

For its part, German magazine Spiegel Online on Thursday said that 52-year-old Heidrun was born in Peru and that 46-year-old Andreas was born in Argentina.

It noted that Heidrun studied mechanical and plastics engineering in Aachen after moving to Germany. They got married in 1990 and had a daughter.

The magazine added that they lived in a modest property in Michelbach, near Stuttgart.

It said Heidrun was talking on the radio with her SVR superior on 18 October last year when German special police stormed the house and that she was "so frightened" that she fell of her chair, pulling a set of wires out of the wall.

They are to be prosecuted at the Stuttgart regional court.

The last big spy scandal in Europe concerned Herman Simm, an Estonian defence ministry official who gave thousands of internal Estonian, EU and Nato documents to the SVR.

He was jailed in 2009 for 12 and a half years.

The head of Belgium's state security service, the VSSE, recently told EUobserver in an interview that: "In Belgium, espionage, Russian espionage and from other countries, like the Chinese, but also others, [is] at the same level as the Cold War."

Fresh report into 2003 EU spy scandal points to Israel

Belgium's Standing Intelligence Agencies Review Committee has in a fresh report revealed details of a 2003 Council of Ministers bugging scandal that names Israeli secret services as a potential culprit.

WikiLeaks: US diplomats make fun of EU leaders, spy on EU citizens

American diplomats speak about EU leaders in terms of "Teflon Merkel ... authoritarian Sarkozy [and] feckless Berlusconi," a first batch of secret cables sent to and from US embassies abroad and published by WikiLeaks shows. The cables also reveal details about spying activities on EU citizens and horse-trading on Guantanamo Bay inmates.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  2. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  3. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  4. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  5. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  6. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  8. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  9. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  10. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  11. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel
  12. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Urges Bigger Global Role for Emerging Economies

Latest News

  1. Leave politics out of agencies debate, says Polish minister
  2. Facebook helping Germany to stop Russian meddling
  3. It's time to de-escalate the situation in Catalonia
  4. Barnier: UK risks undermining trust in Brexit talks
  5. EU 'embarrassed' by Catalan 'taboo'
  6. EU-funded lobbying is expensive and undemocratic
  7. EU takes time to ponder tech giant tax
  8. Dieselgate disappointed car-loving commissioner