Austrian officer indicted for being part of Russian spy network
Russian Embassy in Vienna. PHOTO: RFERL

The case that was uncovered one year ago has created diplomatic tensions between Vienna and Moscow, which had traditionally tried to maintain constructive relations in spite of EU sanctions against Russia.

The 71-year-old man used radio and satellite communications as well as specialised software to stay in touch with his handler at Russia’s GRU agency, according to the prosecutors.

The Austrian was alleged to be part of a Russian spy network since 1993. He reportedly provided extensive information about Austrian weapons systems and about army and air force tasks.

“Investigations revealed the defendant was integrated into a structured, state-run agent network,’’ the prosecution office said in a statement.

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Investigators estimate that the Austrian officer received several 100,000 euros (111,000 dollars) for his services, which he continued to provide after retiring.

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Authorities have seized 28,200 euros in cash that the defendant allegedly received when he met his handling officer for the last time in September 2018.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in 2018 shrugged off the allegations and claimed that this was an issue about which we know nothing.

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