Saturday

24th Jun 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."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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federal prosecutor, Johan Delmulle, as saying: "The present judicial arsenal concerning espionage is hopelessly outdated.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

Opinion

Why Schengen deserves to be saved

Far-right parties around Europe have managed to turn the passport-free Schengen area into a game of political hot potato despite its numerous benefits.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  2. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  3. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  4. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  5. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  6. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  7. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  8. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  2. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  3. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  4. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  5. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  6. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  7. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  8. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit