Europe

Germany Arrests Lawmaker’s Aide on Suspicion of Spying for China

An aide to a German lawmaker in the European Parliament has been arrested on suspicion of spying for China, Germany’s federal prosecutor’s office said Tuesday.

The arrest took place on Monday in the eastern city of Dresden. It came just hours after the German authorities arrested three people in the west of the country on suspicion of leaking technological data used in maritime propulsion and exporting a high-powered laser to China. It was not clear whether the two cases were linked.

Prosecutors said that Jiang G., as he was identified in keeping with German privacy rules, had worked for a German member of the European Parliament since 2019.

Calling him an “employee of a Chinese secret service,” prosecutors accused Mr. G. of repeatedly passing along information about parliamentary deliberations and decisions to Chinese intelligence in January. Mr. G., a German citizen, also was accused of spying on Chinese opposition groups in Germany, according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office.

The Chinese government denied any involvement in the case.

“We have taken note of the relevant reports and related hype,” a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Wang Wenbin, told a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday. “In reality, everyone has seen very clearly in recent times that the so-called ‘Chinese espionage threat theory’ is not new in European public discourse,” he added.

Nancy Faeser, who as Germany’s interior minister is responsible for homeland security, called the allegations “extremely serious.”

“If it is confirmed that the European Parliament was spying for Chinese intelligence services, then this is an attack on European democracy from within,” she said in statement on Tuesday morning.

Maximilian Krah, a lawmaker with the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, party confirmed that the man arrested was one of his employees.

“Should the allegations prove to be true, this would result in the immediate termination of employment,” Mr. Krah wrote on X.

A spokesman for the Belgian prosecutor’s office, which would be responsible for any investigations at the aide’s workplace inside the European Parliament in Brussels, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the European Parliament also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Krah, who has served in the European Parliament since 2019, has positioned himself on the right wing of the AfD. He is considered to be the party’s top candidate in the European Parliament election in June.

The arrest of his aide was not the first time Mr. Krah’s name has come in contact with accused spies for foreign countries.

According to internal records reviewed by The New York Times, Mr. Krah secured an access badge to the European Parliament for a Polish man later accused of spying for Russia.

Matina Stevis-Gridneff contributed reporting from Brussels.

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