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Retired German political scientist charged with spying for China

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By Reuters
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BERLIN -A retired German political scientist has been charged with spying for China for almost a decade, using the political contacts he developed while working for a think tank, the German federal prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.

It said the man, identified as Klaus L. according to German reporting custom, had been recruited during a lecture trip to Shanghai in 2010, almost 10 years after joining the think tank, and had regularly passed on information until November 2019, in return for money and trips to China.

The public broadcaster ARD said Klaus L. had also been a spy for Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND, for half a century before retiring.

ARD cited unnamed sources as saying he had initially told the BND of the recruitment attempt, but had failed to inform it about later contacts.

ARD also said Klaus L. had worked for the Munich-based Hanns Seidel Foundation, associated with the Christian Social Union (CSU), Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU.

The foundation said it had been cooperating with authorities since June last year.

“Possible misconduct via intelligence activities is absolutely unacceptable to us,” a spokesperson for the think tank said, adding that Klaus L. retired a decade ago and had not had any contact with the foundation since then.

The BND was not immediately available for comment.

Klaus L. was due to appear before a Munich court on Tuesday.