Germany set to convict alleged Russian spies
STUTTGART, July 2 (RIA Novosti) – A German court will announce Tuesday the verdict in a trial against a German-based couple accused of spying for Russia for over 20 years.
Andreas Anschlag, 54, and his wife Heidrun, 48, were arrested in Germany in October 2011. In September 2012, they were charged with “secret agent activity” and “forgery of documents.”
Prosecutors have demanded seven years and six months in jail for the husband and four years and six months behind bars for the wife, as well as a 500,000-euro fine and the seizure of confiscated property worth about 35,000 euros.
The defendants, whose true identities are unknown to German prosecutors or authorities, have not admitted that they were spies, nor has Russia, although the Russian authorities have been providing consular assistance to the couple during the trial that started in January.
According to the case materials, the couple arrived in Germany between 1988 and 1990, both sporting Eastern European accents and claiming to having been born in South America and grown up in Austria. They were recruiting, schooling and managing other agents who worked in Germany and neighboring countries, the Berlin newspaper Die Welt reported earlier, adding that they were also passing sensitive information to Moscow on EU and NATO plans collected by agents.
The couple’s most high-profile recruit to be publicly identified was Dutch diplomat Raymond Poeteray, who was detained in April 2012. Poeteray, who was sentenced to 12 years in jail by a Dutch court in April 2013, allegedly received 90,000 euro ($115,000) for passing confidential information to Russia.
Prosecutors say the “secret” files were delivered via dead letter drops to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service in Moscow, after which the Anschlags apparently received further commands through an agent radio network.
The German government earlier made an appeal to Russia to exchange the Anschlags for agents who had been working for a news outlet with close ties to Germany. The deal was never struck but it has been speculated the couple might be exchanged after the trial.