A British Man, Security Guard At UK Embassy In Germany, Arrested On Suspicion Of Spying For Russia
German police have arrested a British man who worked at the British embassy in Berlin on suspicion of spying for Russian intelligence in exchange for cash bribes, according to prosecutors.
Germany’s highest public prosecutor said the man, identified only as David S, was arrested at his Potsdam apartment at 2.20pm on Tuesday, and his home and embassy workplace were searched.
The 57-year-old Briton is understood not to be a diplomat but a private contractor working as a security guard at the Berlin embassy and therefore does not hold diplomatic immunity.
He is suspected of having worked for a Russian intelligence agency at least since November 2020, at least once passing on documents he had acquired through his work to a handler.
He is alleged to have been paid a cash bribe to pass information to Russian intelligence.
He is a British national and was under surveillance by British and German investigators, believed to have included MI5, but officials reluctant to discuss when that started.
The operation that led to David S being suspected was “intelligence-led”.
He is alleged to have received cash payments of an as yet unspecified sum in exchange for information. Citing prosecutors’ circles, the German news magazine Focus reported on Wednesday that the information passed on related to counter-terrorism issues.
Germany’s public prosecutor said the arrest was the result of a joint investigation by German and British authorities. The Metropolitan police said the investigation into David S had involved Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism officers.
“The man was arrested in the Berlin area on suspicion of committing offences relating to being engaged in ‘intelligence agent activity’ (under German law),” the Metropolitan police said.
“Primacy for the investigation remains with German authorities. Officers from the counter-terrorism command continue to liaise with German counterparts as the investigation continues.”
The Met’s counter-terrorism command is responsible for investigating alleged breaches of the Official Secrets Act.
A spokesperson for the British Home Office said: “An individual who was contracted to work for the government was arrested yesterday by the German authorities. It would not be appropriate to comment further as there is an ongoing police investigation.”
Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow home secretary, said the allegations potentially amounted to a “serious breach of UK national security”.
“All measures must now be taken – urgently – to establish exactly what information has been passed to Russian intelligence and the impact this has on the UK, as well as that of our allies,” he said.
“This is yet another example of the real threat posed by Russia, so it is unacceptable that Conservative ministers have been so slow to enact the measures necessary to protect the UK, including implementing the recommendations of the Russia report.”