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Russia Confirms Arrest Of Space Official For Spying In Austria

According to the newspaper, the Austrian suspect, who served as a technician in the Austrian Air Force and had many contacts with civilian firms in Germany, could have supplied the Russian spy with electronic research data.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Jun 15, 2007
A Russian national detained by Austrian police on allegations of spying is an employee of the Russian Space Agency, an agency's spokesman said Thursday. "We confirm that a [Russian] citizen arrested in Vienna is an employee of the Russian Federal Space Agency," Igor Panarin said.

A popular Austrian daily, the Kurier, said Wednesday that police in the town of Gmunden in northern Austria had arrested a Russian citizen suspected of involvement in military espionage.

The paper also said an Austrian Air Force officer who allegedly passed on classified information to the Russian spy, had been detained following a lengthy surveillance operation conducted by Austrian military counterintelligence.

Panarin said the space agency was surprised by the incident and would closely follow the developments in the case. He also said that the suspect was an excellent employee and always performed his duties well.

The arrest was also confirmed Wednesday by an official spokesman for the Austrian Prosecutor General's office.

"I can only confirm that a Russian citizen and an Austrian officer have been arrested," the official told RIA Novosti.

According to the newspaper, the Austrian suspect, who served as a technician in the Austrian Air Force and had many contacts with civilian firms in Germany, could have supplied the Russian spy with electronic research data.

Austrian authorities have not yet revealed the identities of the alleged spies, in the interests of the investigation.

The Russian Embassy in Vienna did not comment on the article in the Austrian newspaper, but a senior embassy official told RIA Novosti Wednesday that "Russia has sent a protest note to the Austrian Foreign Ministry in connection with the arrest of a member of an official Russian delegation participating in a meeting of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space."

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