11:36 GMT +316 December 2019
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    Austrian police (File)

    Austrian Police Say Searching for Russian National Suspected of Spying for Moscow

    © AFP 2019 / JOE KLAMAR
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    VIENNA (Sputnik) - The Austrian Interior Ministry said a Russian national on a wanted list on suspicion of spying for the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) "to the detriment of the Republic of Austria".

    The prosecutor's office of the Austrian city of Salzburg announced on Thursday that Russian spy suspect is a high-ranking Russian military intelligence (GRU) officer who recruited a retired Austrian colonel to steal state and military secrets. The ministry has published his photo.

    According to a statement released by the prosecutor's office, 65-year-old Igor Zaitsev has been put on the Interpol and the Europol wanted lists.

    "The GRU officer is suspected of recruiting a 70-year-old retired colonel of the Austrian armed forces to work for the secret intelligence service to the detriment of Austria, divulging state secrets and deliberately revealing military secrets", the statement said.

    The prosecutors also claim that the Russian spy handler gave the Austrian colonel 30,000 euros in cash as payment for secret information.

    The Russian Embassy in Vienna has not commented on this information so far.

    On 2 July, a court in the Austrian city of Salzburg ruled to extend the arrest of a former Austrian military officer suspected of spying for Russia.

    Vienna is currently leading a massive investigation into the alleged activities of the retired Austrian colonel who allegedly leaked military secrets to Russia between 1992 and 2018. He was detained back in November, and that extension was his fifth one. Reacting to the spying scandal, Russia has rebuffed the accusations as unfounded. 


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