A 57-year-old British man has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of spying for Russia, the Metropolitan Police said on Wednesday. The man, named only as David S, worked at the British embassy in Berlin and is alleged to have been in breach of the German law on intelligence activity.
Scotland Yard said the arrest on Tuesday followed a joint investigation between its Counter Terrorism Command and German counterparts and that the operation is being led by Germany.
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 Met Police said in a statement.
“Primacy for the investigation remains with German authorities. Officers from the Counter Terrorism Command continue to liaise with German counterparts as the investigation continues, it said. The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command is responsible for investigating allegations and matters relating to alleged breaches of the UK’s Official Secrets Act.
A UK government spokesperson 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."
According to reports, the UK’s MI5 intelligence service and other agencies had been working with the Germans on this case for some time. The accused man is said to have been hired as a local staff member at the embassy in Berlin.
Until his arrest, David S worked as a local employee at the British Embassy in Berlin, a statement from the German prosecutor said. “On at least one occasion he forwarded documents obtained in the course of his professional activities to a representative of a Russian intelligence service. In return for providing information, the accused received cash in a previously unknown amount," the statement said.
Investigators have since searched the accused’s home and office in the German capital. The arrest comes at a time of strained relations between the UK and Russia, which Britain has accused of misusing digital technology and posing a threat to the international rules-based order.