A Berlin court has convicted a man of spying for Egypt while working at German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s press office, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
The 66-year-old Amin K., German citizen of Egyptian origin, had worked for the Federal Press Department in Berlin since 1999.
He pleaded guilty and was convicted last week, with the court now handing him a suspended prison sentence of one year and nine months.
What is the case?
Prosecutors told reporters that Amin K. was providing information to Egypt’s General Intelligence Service (GIS) between July 2010 to 2019.
They added that he had exploited his position and used the office research tools to pass on information about German media coverage on Egypt.
He helped in a failed attempt to recruit another spy, a German parliament translator, for the GIS. He also gave the names of five Syrian-born press office colleagues.
However, investigators concluded that he did not have access to secret government information.
In return for his cooperation with the GIS, the man is believed to have received preferential treatment from Egyptian authorities.
What interests Egypt?
The GIS was trying to recruit Egyptians living in Germany, according to a 2019 German intelligence report.
The report said the GIS was also trying to gather information on Egyptian opposition in Germany.
Since Egypt’s strongman General Abdelfattah al-Sisi took power in 2014, Berlin has become refuge for targeted activists, journalists and researchers who fled persecution.
*Editor’s note: DW follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.
fb/dj (AFP, AP, dpa)