Diplomat jailed in biggest Dutch spy affair in recent times
April 24, 2013 4 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A court in the Netherlands has sentenced a diplomat to 12 years in prison for spying for Russia, in what security observers have called one of the worst espionage scandals in recent Dutch history. Raymond Poeteray, who had worked for Holland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1978, was convicted on Tuesday of spying for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). Poeteray was arrested in June of 2012 at Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport, following an extensive investigation by German counterintelligence. The diplomat was captured as he was boarding a flight to Vienna, Austria, the first leg in a return journey to Bangkok, Thailand. Dutch prosecutors claimed during Poeteray’s trial that he had arranged to meet his Russian handlers in Bangkok and give them three USB drives loaded with classified information, which were found on in his possessions upon his arrest at Schiphol. The three-judge panel that sentenced Poeteray at The Hague said he had spied on Holland “for years [while] on assignment from the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service”, in the course of which he damaged the interests of his home country in a “substantial” way. The Dutch prosecutor’s office said Poeteray had provided Moscow with sensitive information, including military and political intelligence on the European Union, inside material on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as well as documents belonging to the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry. The court heard that, in recent years, the diplomat had given the SVR information about Dutch involvement in the Libyan Civil War, classified data from European-Union-sponsored fact-finding missions in the Republic of Georgia, as well as intelligence on Dutch peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and elsewhere. More importantly, the panel of judges said during Poeteray’s sentencing that he had given away “confidential and very private personal information about seven colleagues”, without specifying whether they were Western diplomats, intelligence officers or spies. The court also heard that between 2009 and 2011 alone, Poeteray was paid by the Russians nearly $100,000 in cash in exchange for his services. Dutch government prosecutors, who had requested a 15-year sentence, argued that Poeteray had “acted purely in pursuit of profit, to pay off his debts and to be able to allow himself a certain lifestyle”. Poeteray’s defense team has a fortnight to decide whether to file an appeal.