German government press office employee caught spying for Egyptian intelligence

German Federal Press OfficeAn employee of the German government’s press office has been charged with carrying out acts of espionage on behalf of Egyptian intelligence, according to a report by Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior. The report was publicized on Thursday by the German Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer. It did not identify the alleged spy, but said he worked for the visitor’s bureau of the German Federal Press Office.

The report does not specify when the alleged spy was first employed by the Federal Press Office, but he is believed to have been hired after passing an entrance examination and completing a vocational training period of up to two years. In December 2019 he was dismissed from his post after he was allegedly found to have been spying for a number of years for the Egyptian government.

The Interior Ministry report was confirmed on Thursday by the Office of the Federal Public Prosecutor, which said the man had been charged with espionage and that the investigation was still ongoing. German police have reportedly searched the man’s home and office on a number of occasions since his arrest. The unnamed man is believed to have been tasked with collecting information on Egyptian citizens living in Germany, especially supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, or those active in Coptic Christian circles. Members of these two groups are known to be highly critical of Egypt’s autocratic President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

The German government warned on Thursday that the Egyptian intelligence service was actively engaged in recruiting Egyptians living in Germany as spies. Recruitment typically occurs when these expatriates visit Egyptian diplomatic missions in Germany, or when they travel back to Egypt to visit family.

Steffen Seibert, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman and head of the Federal Press Office, where the alleged spy worked, said on Thursday that his office would “not be commenting on ongoing investigations or on personnel matters”

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 10 July 2020 | Permalink

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