European External Action Service (EEAS) building. Credit: EU
The German federal prosecutor office has reportedly uncovered a case of a former EU diplomat passing sensitive information to a Chinese ministry.
The magazine Der Spiegel wrote yesterday that the case involves a German diplomat and two other persons working for lobbying companies.
Their apartments and offices in Brussels, Berlin and two other places were searched in a morning raid.
The suspected diplomat is a former employee at the European Commission and later its external action service. He has also been ambassador in several countries. After he retired, he started to work for a lobbying company, as many other senior officials are doing.
The European Commission was apparently taken by surprise by the news. At today’s (15 January) press briefing in Brussels, a Commission spokesperson declined to comment on the on-going investigation but offered the Commission’s assistance to the German judicial authorities if requested.
No searches took place in the Commission buildings according to the spokesperson. As regards Commission staff in service, the spokesperson said that there are preventive measures in place to sensitize staff to the risks of hostile intelligence activities, incl. guidance on the use of social media.