19:51 GMT11 May 2021
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    The suspect is alleged to have collected secret data from the parliament building and passed it on to a Russian intelligence operative attached to the Russian Embassy in Berlin.

    Federal prosecutors in Germany have charged a German national with espionage; the man is accused of spying for Russia.

    The individual, identified as one Jens F, is alleged to have collected computer files containing floor plans of the German parliament building - the Bundestag, while doing contracting work to maintain portable electrical devices at the parliament's facilities.

    The suspect is charged with passing of the floor plans to a Russian military intelligence (GRU) agent said to be attached to the Russian Embassy sometime between July and September 2017, using a computer storage device to do so.

    The charges against the man were said to have been brought on 12 February, but only reported on Thursday in a press release.

    Prosecutors did not provide any further information or evidence, nor a possible motive for the alleged crime.

    Under the German Criminal Code, working as an agent for a foreign intelligence service carries the penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years and/or a fine, and "in especially serious cases," imprisonment for a term between one and ten years.

    Russian officials have not commented on the allegations.

    The espionage allegations come amid ongoing regional and international tensions over the construction of Nord Stream 2, a joint Russian-Western European energy infrastructure megaproject promising to provide Germany and other European nations up to 55 billion cubic meters of additional Russian gas per year via pipelines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Washington and its European allies have spent years attempting to torpedo the project, applying sanctions and pressuring Europe to buy more expensive American liquefied natural gas instead.

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