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Russian spies suspected of stealing car secrets
Photo: DPA

Russian spies suspected of stealing car secrets

Published: 25 Oct 2011 14:24 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Oct 2011 14:24 GMT+02:00

The two alleged Russian spies arrested last week are suspected of stealing secrets from German car manufacturers, after it emerged one of them worked in the auto industry for the past 20 years.

The Rheinpfalz regional paper reported on Tuesday that intelligence service sources say the man, named only as Andreas A., had worked for Faurecia, one of Germany’s top car part manufacturers which supplies major companies including Volkswagen, Renault, Toyota and Ford.

The paper said he is suspected of having passed on sensitive information from the company, which has its development centre in Hagenbach – where Andreas A. worked. He and his wife moved house at the end of 2010, and he changed jobs, starting at a second car parts firm where he is also suspected to have been involved in industrial espionage.

At the time the the couple was arrested, Andreas A. had been working at the Boetsch firm in Balingen, near Landau, a firm owned by the Schunk Group. The company confirmed on Tuesday that a computer he had been using there had been confiscated by the authorities, but said the federal prosecutors had not found evidence of spying.

Russian newspaper Iswestija reported a Russian intelligence agent saying the couple were long retired from the spy business and that they may have been used to transfer information, “like a kind of letter box.”

Andreas A., 45, and his 51-year-old wife Heidrun are thought to have been in Germany since at least 1990, having used fake passports to enter the country, and then setting themselves up as a family, even having a daughter who is now said to be 20 years old and studying medicine in Marburg.

They were arrested by a commando team last week – as Heidrun A. was listening to coded messages on a short-wave radio. They are suspected of working for the Russian secret service SWR – and having previously worked for the KGB – although they deny being involved in any espionage activity.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:53 October 25, 2011 by raandy
Corporate spying , happens every where there are new products and ideas,being developed, use them in an auto and lawyer up.
19:20 October 25, 2011 by neunElf
Corporate spying is one thing, government sponsored espionage is something else!

So, they are systematically looting our industrial technology, I have an idea!

Let's make these same folks responsible for our future energy needs!

Gerhard Schroeder thinks that is a great idea, it's paid him very well indeed!
21:47 October 25, 2011 by wood artist
"...listening to a coded message on a short-wave radio."

Good grief, do they still do that sort of thing? That is so...60's. Why not use the internet with a good encryption program? Is Russia still back in those days? Look, I know the budget's been cut, and the KGB is sort of out of business, but...can't we at least move beyond micro-dots and dead drops?

wa
10:48 October 26, 2011 by Celeon
Spying on the car industry? Lets assume for a moment that this was really what they were doing at some point. Judging by the state of the russian car industry today , they must have been the most success-free spy couple ever. :-D
00:00 November 7, 2011 by Bob Johnson
Anyone in German counter-intelligence should be passing them real quality mechanical secrets from say...Alfa Romeo.
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