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Retired Austrian officer suspected of leaking state secrets, says prosecutor’s office

November 09, 2018, 15:28 UTC+3

If the man is proved to be guilty, he may face a term of up to ten years in prison

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VIENNA, November 9. /TASS/. The Salzburg public prosecutor’s office is verifying charges advanced by the Austrian defense ministry against a 70-year-old retired officer who is suspected of leaking state secrets, a spokesman for the Salzburg public prosecutor’s office told TASS on Friday.

In case the information is proved to be correct, the man may face a term of up to ten years behind bars.

"The Salzburg public prosecutor’s office today received a statement from the defense ministry reporting about the case. The subject of investigation is charges against a 70-year-old Salzburg-domiciled retired officer of the Austrian army who reportedly surrendered documents to a foreign intelligence service. The public prosecutor’s office is verifying these charges concerning leakage of state secrets," the spokesman said.

According to the spokesman, in case the charges are proved to be true, the man may face a prison term of up to ten years.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said earlier on Friday that Austria’s law enforcement agencies were probing into a case of a retired Austrian colonel who was suspected of spying for Russia. Foreign Minister Kneissl has cancelled her visit to Russia and summoned Russian diplomats to clarify the situation over the spying allegations. The Austrian top diplomat planned to visit Russia on December 2-3. She warned that the incident way tell adversely on relations between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he was unpleasantly surprised to see no request from Vienna for explanations over the affair.

According to the Austrian defense ministry, the retired colonel is suspected of working for Russian intelligence since the 1990s and providing Moscow with information about Austria’s air force, artillery and the migration crisis. The suspect is said to have received 300,000 euro for his 20-year service.

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