January 27, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Austria investigates Greek suspected of spying for Russia

Austrian authorities said on Monday they were investigating a 39-year-old Greek citizen on charges of espionage. It is assumed that the suspect worked for the Russian military intelligence GRU.

The suspect, who faces up to five years in prison for “supporting the secret intelligence service to the detriment of Austria”, has not been taken into custody, the Austrian Interior Ministry said, adding that the justice system would take certain further steps.

A Greek citizen of Russian origin is suspected of spying for the Russian secret service for several years to the detriment of Austria. He is the son of a former Russian intelligence officer who spent his active service in Germany and Austria as a diplomat. The investigation by the State Security and Intelligence Directorate (DSN) was carried out on behalf of the Vienna Public Prosecutor’s Office and in close international cooperation.

The suspect, who is said to have received special military training in Russia, was in contact with diplomats and intelligence officials from various countries, and was in Moscow shortly before and during the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. There is a suspicion that he was used as a source of information about foreign policy, society as a whole and security policy among the Austrian population, the country and the press, and therefore brought to Moscow to assess a possible reaction from abroad in the run-up to the military operation.

The suspect is not working and has had little to no work in the past, so he receives little social security benefits in Austria. However, between 2018 and early 2022, he was able to make a total of 65 trips to other European countries, as well as to Russia, Belarus, Turkey and Georgia, and purchase several properties in Vienna, Russia and Greece. According to the Greek media, it was these numerous trips of the “spy” that alerted the Austrian authorities.

During a search of the suspect’s premises, a signal detector capable of detecting wiretapping devices and hidden cameras, as well as a bulletproof vest, was found. Among other things, mobile phones, laptops and tablets were seized containing a total of ten million files. DSN submitted its final report to the Vienna Public Prosecutor on December 15, 2022.

“The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine has also created serious problems for the protection of the constitution. Thanks to a thorough investigation by the state security agencies and close international cooperation, a Russian spy has been identified. I would like to thank the investigators for their hard work,” Interior Minister Gerhard Karner said. .

Sources: ots.at, reuters

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