Tuesday

23rd Apr 2019

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."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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Belgian federal prosecutor, Johan Delmulle, as saying: "The present judicial arsenal concerning espionage is hopelessly outdated.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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us