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Ex-guard at UK’s Berlin embassy admits spying for Russia


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LONDON – A former security guard at the British embassy in Berlin has admitted to spying for Russia and faces 14 years in prison.

David Ballantyne Smith, 58, pleaded guilty to eight counts under the Official Secrets Act. Prosecutors say he provided Major General Sergey Chukhurov, Russia’s military attaché in Berlin, with information about the activities, identities, addresses and phone numbers of British civil servants.

Smith also gathered intelligence, some classified as secret, about the embassy’s operations and layout, which prosecutors said would be useful to “the enemy, namely the Russia”.

Smith admitted guilt during a hearing last week at Central London Criminal Court, but the plea was covered by reporting restrictions until Friday, when prosecutors brought charges. ninth which Smith denied.

Prosecutors say Smith was motivated by hatred for Britain and its embassy, ​​where he worked for eight years, and has expressed sympathy for Russian authorities. They claim that he was angry that the embassy had flown a rainbow flag in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

Smith’s attorney, Matthew Ryder, said his client denied prosecutors’ description of “why he did what he did and the seriousness of the charges”. He said Smith had no “negative intentions towards the UK”

Smith was arrested by German police at his home in Potsdam, southwest of Berlin in August 2021, and extradited to the UK in April.

He will be sentenced at a later date and faces a maximum sentence of 14 years.

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