183 kajj99 January 17, 2020
German prosecutors on Wednesday said they were investigating three people who allegedly spied for China, with media reporting that a German former EU diplomat was among the suspects. "We can confirm an investigation into suspected espionage" for Chinese state security bodies, a spokesman for the federal prosecutor's office told AFP. Der Spiegel weekly said one of the suspects was a German diplomat who worked at the European Commission in Brussels before serving several stints as ambassador for the European Union in foreign countries. The other two are reportedly lobbyists employed by a "well-known Germany lobby firm". Prosecutors refused to provide details about the suspects and said no arrests have been made. But they confirmed Spiegel's information that police were on Wednesday raiding homes and offices linked to the trio in Berlin, Brussels and the German states of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg. According to Spiegel, prosecutors accuse the former diplomat and one of the lobbyists of "sharing private and commercial information with the Chinese ministry for state security". The third suspect apparently only indicated "a willingness to do so". The diplomat at the centre of the probe reportedly ended his EU career in 2017 and switched to working for a lobbying firm, where he then recruited the two other suspects. The spying is alleged to have started that same year. If the allegations are confirmed, it would be a rare case of Chinese espionage being uncovered. "Although there is always much talk about large-scale Chinese spying operations in Germany and Europe, investigators are rarely successful against Beijing's secret services," Spiegel wrote. - Huawei tensions - The probe comes at a time of intense debate in Europe's top economy about whether or not to exclude Chinese tech giant Huawei from developing Germany's 5G mobile networks. Critics, led by Washington, say Huawei is too close to Beijing and its equipment could be used as a tool for spying -- an allegation Huawei strongly denies. US President Donald Trump has already ordered American firms to cease doing business with market leader Huawei, and has urged allies to follow suit. Australia and Japan have also taken steps to bar or tightly restrict the firm's participation in their 5G networks. Germany so far has resisted pressure to ban Huawei. Chancellor Angela Merkel has instead said Berlin would insist on stringent security requirements without barring individual companies. China is a crucial trading partner for Germany but concerns have mounted in recent years over a spike in Chinese investments in German firms. The buying spree has fuelled fears of vital German knowhow and technology being sold off to Beijing, prompting the government to tighten restrictions on foreign takeovers.Visit the site to read more » » ›
President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday proposed a referendum on amending Russia's constitution to increase the powers of parliament while maintaining a strong presidential system. "I consider it necessary to conduct a vote by the country's citizens on an entir..
Mary Elizabeth Winstead has described getting divorced from her longtime partner as a "scary and crazy" experience. The 35-year-old actress split from director Riley Stearns after seven years of marriage in 2017 and went on to embark on a relationship with he..
President Donald Trump on Wednesday ended two years of escalating trade battles with China, with a partial agreement to resolve some areas of conflict. "Today, we take a momentous step, one that's never taken before with China," that will ensure "fair and rec..
Russian President Vladimir Putin named a little-known new prime minister and proposed a constitutional shake-up on Wednesday as he announced sweeping changes that fuelled speculation about his future plans. In a shock announcement, Prime Minister Dmitry Medve..
President Hassan Rouhani appealed Wednesday for "unity" and flagged the need for radical changes to the way Iran is run, after a wave of angry protests over the accidental downing of a Ukrainian airliner. The Kiev-bound Boeing 737 was shot down in a catastrop..
The past decade has been the hottest on record, the UN said Wednesday, warning that the higher temperatures were expected to fuel numerous extreme weather events in 2020 and beyond. The World Meteorological Organization, which based its findings on analysis o..
Dwayne Johnson is mourning the death of his wrestling star father Rocky Johnson. The former fighter passed away on Wednesday, aged 75, according to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) officials. Born Wayde Douglas Bowles, Rocky made his ring debut in his nat..
The late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused and trafficked girls as young as 12 on his private Caribbean island until as recently as last year, a new lawsuit alleged Wednesday. The suit, filed on behalf of the US Virgin Islands government and..
Nicolas Cage has urged those considering getting a divorce to watch Noah Baumbach's Oscar-nominated movie Marriage Story. The star shared his love for the 2019 flick, starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a couple going through a divorce, when he att..