Austria arrests ex-intelligence officer on suspicion of spying for Russia

Egisto Ott rejected the allegations but did not appeal his detention, says court spokeswoman

11:15 - 2/04/2024 Tuesday
Update: 11:18 - 2/04/2024 Tuesday
File photo
File photo

A former Austrian intelligence officer has been arrested on allegations of spying for Russia, local media reported Monday.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said the allegations against Egisto Ott, who worked for the now-defunct Federal Agency for State Protection and Counterterrorism (BVT), are serious and need to be dealt with thoroughly by the judiciary and other state agencies, the Austria Press Agency (APA) reported.

“We must prevent Russian spy networks from threatening our country by infiltrating or exploiting political parties or networks,” he said.

The Vienna public prosecutor's office said the spying allegations relate to “abuse of office” and were “detrimental to Austria.”

“Ott is said to have forwarded classified information - such as a strictly confidential memo from BVT and an inquiry from the FBI - from his work email address to his private email address. In the end they ended up - or so the suspicion is - with Russian intelligence services,” said APA.

Christina Salzborn, the spokeswoman for the Vienna Regional Court for Criminal Matters, which imposed the pre-trial detention on Ott, said “the reasons for the detention were the risk of collusion and the risk of committing a crime.”

Ott denied all the allegations against him when questioned by the judge, she added, noting however that he did not appeal against his detention, so the pretrial detention order is legally effective.

#Christina Salzborn
#Egisto Ott
#Federal Agency for State Protection and Counterterrorism
#Karl Nehammer
18 days ago