Officials: Detained Syrian wanted German intel job

AP News
Posted: Jul 31, 2012 8:26 AM

BERLIN (AP) — A suspected Syrian spy who was arrested in Germany earlier this year once tried to infiltrate the country's intelligence services, officials said Tuesday.

The German federal prosecutors' office said 35-year-old Akram O. was employed by Syria's embassy in Berlin but not officially registered with German authorities when he applied in late 2010 for a post with the Interior Ministry.

The application was made "at the behest of his intelligence agency handlers," prosecutors said in a statement.

O., whose full name wasn't disclosed by prosecutors because of privacy rules, said at the time that he wanted to work for Germany's domestic intelligence agency or electronic surveillance office — both overseen by the ministry — but his application was turned down.

The Syrian national applied for German citizenship in 2009, making false claims about his personal and economic circumstances, but never obtained it, prosecutors said.

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He was indicted last week on suspicion of spying on Syrian opposition activists in Germany since 2008. After telling superior officers in January that opposition activists in Germany were collecting funds, two relatives of a Germany-based dissident were interrogated by Syrian authorities, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors have yet to indict a second man, German-Lebanese dual national Mahmoud El A., who was arrested along with Akram O. in February.