British ex-embassy guard admits spying for Russia in Germany

AFP
AFP - [email protected] • 11 Nov, 2022 Updated Fri 11 Nov 2022 17:27 CEST
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The Union Jack flies at half mast outside the British Embassy in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jörg Carstensen

A British security guard at the UK's embassy in Germany has pleaded guilty to violating the Official Secrets Act after he passed information to Russia, officials said Friday.

David Ballantyne Smith, 58, was said in court to be motivated by an intense hatred for his homeland.

Smith, who worked at the Berlin embassy for eight years, was also said to have been angered at its flying the Rainbow flag in support of gay people.

He admitted to eight charges last week, but that could not be reported at the time as he was denying a ninth count.

Prosecutors have now said they will not press for a trial on the ninth charge, removing the reporting restrictions.

READ ALSO: Germany considers extradition of Briton who ‘spied for Russia’

Smith lived beyond his means, but €800 in cash was found at his home in Potsdam when he was arrested by German police in August last year, the Old Bailey court heard.

Searches of his electronic devices found the draft of a letter dated May 2020 in which he offered his services to a Russian diplomat.

After that letter, he was in contact with Sergey Chukhurov, the Russian military attache in Berlin, handing over information on various British civil servants.

He collected intelligence on the operation of the embassy and delivered some material that was officially marked "Secret".

Smith faces a maximum jail term of 14 years for spying. He will be sentenced at a later date.

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AFP 2022/11/11 17:27

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