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"Russian spies" go on trial in Germany

January 16, 2013, 11:44 UTC+3
After the verdict is passed, they might be swapped for two persons serving a sentence in Russia for spying for the United States
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On Tuesday, Stuttgart state court began the trial of Andreas and Heidrun Anschlag, accused of espionage for Russia. Andreas, 52 and Heidrun, 46 face up to ten years in prison. However, after the verdict is passed, they might be swapped for two persons serving a sentence in Russia for spying for the United States.

According to the investigators, the married couple obtained fake Austrian passports in 1984, and after a few years, moved to live in the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kommersant writes. Andreas Anschlag found a job in the car industry, and his wife gave birth to a daughter and became a housewife. The spouses claimed they had come from Argentina and Peru, but the investigators said they had come from the USSR with a 25-year intelligence record. They supplied to Moscow information about NATO and EU activities and the political situation in Germany. The investigators claim the spies had obtained more than 100 confidential documents, including five confidential NATO reports released after meetings of the alliance.

The Nezavisimaya Gazeta notes the activity in Berlin in connection with the case. The newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Monday that two German Chancellery personnel visited the Russian Embassy in Berlin in March 2012 with the proposal to evict the Anshclag family to Russia, in exchange for the U.S. spies detained in Russia. It seems the U.S. tip on the Anschlags was viewed by the FBI from the beginning as a sort of advance payment for the German efforts to help out the CIA spies. In other words, it was initiated as an operation by U.S. secret services. But Russia rejected the deal. "The federal government's talks with Moscow over exchanging the Anschlags for the agent arrested in Russia deadlocked," the newspaper said referring to the Spiegel magazine.

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