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Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Germany: Egyptian spy in Merkel's press office

A man suspected of spying on Egypt worked in the German press office until December 2019. The authorities believe that Egypt is recruiting people to spy on opposition groups living in Germany. 

According to a report presented on Thursday by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, an employee of the German Federal Press Office has been working for Egyptian secret services for years.

"We don't comment on ongoing investigations or personnel matters," said Steffen Seibert, spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel and head of the Federal Press Office. According to the German daily Bild, this man worked for the press office as a middle-level employee. This means that he would have completed the exam and at least two years of vocational training to get a job. 

According to the report, the German police applied "enforcement measures" to the man in December 2019. As part of the investigation, the premises of the guest service were searched as part of the investigation.

The Federal Prosecutor confirmed that the man was accused of suspected espionage and that the investigation is still ongoing. "There are indications that Egyptian services are trying to recruit Egyptians living in Germany for intelligence purposes by visiting Egypt's diplomatic missions in Germany and their travels to Egypt," reads the report.

The German government believes that the Egyptian secret service is trying to gather information about Egyptians living in Germany who may be members of the Muslim Brotherhood, but also members of the Coptic Christian community. 

Since 1952, Egypt has been ruled by the military, and in 2012 it briefly joined the line. At that time, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected president and was then dismissed by the current president, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. In 2013. In a report submitted by Berlin’s Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer in Berlin, the case of suspected Egyptian spies was part of the report.

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