Friday

22nd Sep 2017

Belgian diplomat suspected of being Russian spy

  • College d'Europe library in Bruges, where O.G. studied (Photo: Rete dei CDE italian)

The Belgian foreign ministry has suspended one of its people in Denmark due to a "security breach," amid reports he is a Russian spy.

A Belgian spokesman told EUobserver on Friday (5 October): "We can confirm that an official from our ministry was suspended from his functions a bit over one year ago following indications of a security breach. The ministry of foreign affairs has filed a complaint with Belgian prosecutors and an inquiry is ongoing."

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.

Belgian magazine MO broke the story earlier the same day in an article citing sources in the Belgian state security service, the VSSE.

It said he is suspected of helping Russian intelligences services, the FSB and SVR, to set up false identities for spies in Belgium, the home of the EU institutions and Nato headquarters.

It noted that the suspect, identified by his intials "O.G.," is a 57-year-old man from Bruges who had studied Slavic languages in Ghent University and who also did a post-graduate course at the Bruges-based College d'Europe - an international school known for training future EU officials.

He was later posted as a Belgian diplomat to Algeria, India, Japan, Portugal, Nigeria and the US before coming to Copenhagen.

MO added that his first contact with the FSB began 25 years ago, in a long-term relationship reminiscent of the case of Herman Simm.

Simm is a former Estonian defence official who was jailed in 2009 for giving EU and Nato secrets to the SVR in a spy career which lasted almost 30 years.

MO said it is unclear whether O.G. has broken Belgium's anti-espionage law, which dates back to 1934.

It quoted Belgian federal prosecutor, Johan Delmulle, as saying: "The present judicial arsenal concerning espionage is hopelessly outdated. Mr Winants, the head of state security, recently claimed that hundreds of spies are active in Brussels. A parliamentary debate is welcome on what in anno 2012 is considered to be espionage and what should be punished. A reflection on this topic is needed, especially bearing in mind the presence of numerous international institutions on Belgian soil, such as Nato or the institutions of the EU."

Alain Winants, the VSSE chief, spoke out on spy activity in the EU capital last month in an interview with EUobserver.

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.

EU agency to fight election hacking

A new-model EU cybersecurity agency could help states defend their elections against "hybrid attacks", the Commission has said.

EU monitoring Cyprus passport sales

The European Commission has said it is in a "dialogue" with Cyprus amid concerns on loopholes in its passport sale scheme.

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