For more than a year, the Austrian Prosecution Office has been investigating a employee of the Office for Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism (BVT) who is suspected of spying for Russia, reported the Austrian news outlet Kronen Zeitung with reference to sources in the economic and corruption prosecution office.
“An Austrian counterintelligence agent is suspected of disclosing state secrets. According to Austrian legislation, the punishment for this may be up to ten years in prison,” the article states.
Earlier the BVT head office searched two of the suspect’s residential addresses. The publication does not mention the name of the suspect or specify what kind of information he may have leaked to Moscow.
The story has been confirmed by the Prosecution Office of Vienna, but no further details have been disclosed.
The Russian Embassy to Austria refused to comment on the situation.
On November 9, news came out that a 70 year-old retired Austrian colonel had been arrested on charges of espionage for Russia. The suspect was allegedly recruited by Russian intelligence agents as early as 1988, and had received €300,000 in compensation for his services since then.
Vienna and Moscow have exchanged sharp statements on the matter. Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl cancelled her upcoming trip to Moscow in connection with these developments, stating that if the suspicions of espionage are proven correct, it will weigh heavily on Austrian-Russian relations.