Austria says it suspects Greek of spying for Russia
Austria said on Monday it had identified a 39-year-old Greek citizen whom it suspects of spying for Russia, adding that he is himself the son of a former Russian spy who was once stationed in Germany and Austria as a diplomat.
Austria’s Interior Ministry made the announcement in a statement after an investigation conducted by its domestic intelligence agency “in close international cooperation” with countries or institutions that it did not name.
The suspect, whom it also did not name, “was in contact with diplomats and intelligence officials from various countries and was in Moscow shortly before and during the military invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces,” the statement said.
The suspect, who faces up to five years in prison for “supporting a secret intelligence agency to the detriment of Austria”, is not being remanded in custody, it said, adding that undefined further steps would be taken by the justice system.
It provided no further information about his father.
“It is suspected that he was used as a source of information on discourse among the Austrian population, the country and the press relating to foreign policy, society as a whole and security policy and was therefore brought to Moscow in the run-up to the military operation to assess possible foreign reactions,” the ministry said.
He was barely employed and received limited state benefits but had made 65 trips abroad between 2018 and early 2022 and bought properties in Vienna, Russia and Greece, and a property search had found a signal detector that can find bugs and hidden cameras, it said.
“Conspiratorial locations in the Vienna area were used for the exchange of information, and diplomatic personnel of the Russian Federation were also found to be closely related in terms of time and place to those locations,” it added.