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German spy found guilty of trying to share state secrets in jihadist chats

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German spy found guilty of trying to share state secrets in jihadist chats
Roque M. in court in Düsseldorf. Photo: DPA.
14:32 CEST+02:00
A former German intelligence agent who was also an ex-gay porn actor was on Tuesday given a one-year suspended sentence for attempting to share state secrets while pretending to be a jihadist online.

The 52-year-old named as Roque M., made headlines when he was arrested last November in what initially appeared to be a case of an Islamist mole at work in Germany's domestic spy agency.

But he was freed in July after prosecutors dropped most of the charges, finding no evidence of an attack plot or ties to Islamist groups.

He told the court that he pretended to be a jihadist planning an attack in online chatrooms because he was bored.

"I never met with any Islamists. I would never do that. The whole thing was like a game," the suspect said at the start of his trial in the western city of Düsseldorf.

A former banker and a father-of-four, Roque M. told the court that he monitored the Islamist scene as part of his job for the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), a role he described as "a lot of fun".

But he said he grew bored on weekends when he was at home watching his disabled son, and immersed himself in the online world of Islamists, feigning to be one himself.

It was "an escape from reality," he said in court.

He even went so far as to arrange a meeting with a suspected Islamist at a gym, although Roque M. insisted he never had any intention of going.

He was caught after he offered to share classified information about BfV operations with someone who turned out to be a colleague working undercover.

The case initially sparked outrage, with Germany's domestic spy agency fending off calls for a complete security overhaul for allowing an "Islamist" to infiltrate its team who had passed multiple screenings.

The intelligence agent's colourful past as a gay porn actor also enthralled the public.

But as no evidence emerged of an actual Islamist plot, prosecutors left Roque M. facing the sole charge of attempting to share state secrets.

READ ALSO: Gay porn actor turned German spy goes on trial for treason over Islamist chats

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