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German political science academic charged with spying for China

Published: Updated:

A German political scientist has been charged with spying for China by exploiting high-level official contacts made via his position as the head of a think tank, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

The accused, identified only as Klaus L., is suspected of “regularly passing on information to Chinese intelligence ahead of or after state visits or multinational conferences” between 2010 and 2019.

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Klaus L. had been running a political think tank since 2001, gaining international importance due to his scientific reputation and networks he had built up over many years, the prosecutors said.

He was approached by members of a Chinese intelligence service during a lecture tour to Shanghai in June 2010, they said.

The suspect obtained information primarily from his numerous high-ranking political contacts gained through his work, the prosecutors said.

He was paid for his work and the Chinese intelligence service also arranged for him to travel to the meetings with its officers, including as part of a social program.

According to a report by German public broadcaster ARD, Klaus L. led a double life and had also been working as a spy for the German intelligence services (BND).

The broadcaster named the think tank as the Hanns Seidel Foundation, which is close to the CSU, the smaller Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU.

The suspect is due to appear before a judge later on Tuesday.

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