German prosecutors charge Russian man with espionage

January 27, 2022 GMT

BERLIN (AP) — German prosecutors said Thursday they have charged a Russian man who worked at a German university with espionage for allegedly passing information on European rockets to Russian intelligence.

The suspect, identified only as Ilnur N. in line with German privacy rules, was arrested on June 18. Until then, he worked as a research assistant for a science and technology professorship at a university in Bavaria. Prosecutors haven’t identified the university.

Prosecutors said that the suspect was contacted by Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence service by November 2019 at the latest and agreed to work for it. The intelligence service, they said, was particularly interested in the development of the European Ariane rocket, used for space launches.

Regular personal meetings between the suspect and his Germany-based handler took place, at which the suspect passed on information about airspace research products, particularly the various development stages of the Ariane rocket, a statement from prosecutors said. He allegedly received a total of 2,500 euros ($2,820) in cash.

The indictment was filed at the Munich state court on Dec. 9. The court will now have to decide whether to send the case to trial and when.