UK embassy guard in Berlin pleads guilty to spying for Russia | News

Prosecutors stated David Ballantyne Smith, 58, was motivated to spy due to his hatred of the UK and its embassy.

A British man who labored at the UK’s embassy in Berlin has pleaded responsible to eight offences beneath the Official Secrets and techniques Act regarding passing on info helpful to Russia.

David Ballantyne Smith, who lived in Potsdam, Germany and was employed as a safety guard on the embassy in Berlin, was extradited to the UK from Germany following his arrest by German police in August 2021.

The 58-year-old pleaded responsible to eight offences on November 4.

Choose Mark Wall lifted restrictions on reporting Smith’s pleas on Friday after the prosecution indicated it won’t search a trial on a ninth cost to which Smith pleaded not responsible.

Smith appeared on the Previous Bailey in London final week and pleaded responsible to 1 cost of passing details about UK civil servants to Main Normal Sergey Chukhurov, described within the prosecution indictment because the Russian army attaché to Berlin, between October and December 2020.

He additionally admitted to seven different prices regarding amassing info which is likely to be “helpful to an enemy, specifically the Russian state”, together with materials “regarding the operation and format of the British embassy in Berlin”.

Searches of his digital units discovered the draft of a letter dated Might 2020 by which he supplied his companies to a Russian diplomat.

Prosecutors stated Smith – who was stated to have lived past his means in Germany – was motivated by a hatred of the UK and its embassy, the place he had labored for eight years, and had expressed sympathy with Russian authorities.

They claimed he was indignant the embassy flew the rainbow flag in help of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood.

Smith’s lawyer Matthew Ryder advised the court docket there may be “a really massive distinction between the (prosecution) and Mr Smith about his motivation”.

“His intention and why he did what he did and the seriousness of the allegations because the (prosecution) put them are strongly disputed by Mr Smith,” Ryder added.

Smith faces a most jail time period of 14 years for spying.

A listening to is anticipated to happen in February 2023 to find out the premise on which Smith will likely be sentenced.

Leave a Reply