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Three Germans arrested on suspicion of spying for China

 The secret service's lettering is on one of the entrances to the headquarters of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) in Berlin, Germany, Dec. 22, 2022.
The secret service's lettering is on one of the entrances to the headquarters of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) in Berlin, Germany, Dec. 22, 2022. Copyright AP
Copyright AP
By Euronews with AP
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Since before June 2022, the three German citizens have procured information to Chinese officials on Germany's “militarily usable innovative technologies,” according to prosecutors.

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Three people suspected of spying for China and facilitating the transfer of information on technology with potential military uses were arrested in Germany on Monday.

Prosecutors said that the three German citizens are accused of having acted for Chinese intelligence since before June 2022. They are also suspected of violating German export laws.

One of the suspects, identified only as Thomas R. in line with German privacy laws, was allegedly an agent for an employee of China's Ministry of State Security (MSS) and procured information in Germany on “militarily usable innovative technologies” for that person, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

To do that, prosecutors said, he used Herwig F. and Ina. F, a couple who own a company in Düsseldorf, to contact and work with German researchers.

The couple allegedly set up a research transfer agreement with an unidentified German company. They drew up a study for a Chinese partner on the technology of machine parts that could be used for powerful ship engines, including those in battleships. Thomas R.'s handler at the MSS was behind the Chinese partner and the project was financed by the Chinese state, prosecutors said.

Germany's Interior Minister Nancy Faeser posted on X, formerly Twitter that "the area of ​​innovative technologies from Germany that can be used for military purposes that is affected in the current case is particularly sensitive. This makes it all the more important to address this issue as consistently as we have succeeded in doing in this case."

The suspects also procured with MSS funding a special laser and exported it to China without permission, the prosecutors said.

The homes and offices of the suspects, who were arrested in Düsseldorf and in Bad Homburg, near Frankfurt, were searched.

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