A Greek national is under investigation in Austria for allegedly spying for Russia for years, the Austrian government said on Monday.
The Interior Ministry said that the 39-year-old, who is not currently in detention, has Russian roots and is the son of a former Russian intelligence employee who was once stationed as a diplomat in Austria and neighboring Germany.
It said that he is believed to have received “military special training” in Russia and was in Moscow shortly before and during the invasion of Ukraine.
The suspect barely worked and received only limited benefits in Austria but was able to make sixty-five journeys within Europe and to Russia and Belarus between 2018 and early 2022. The suspect also acquired several properties in Vienna, Russia, and Greece, the ministry said, according to the Associated Press.
Alleged Greek spy for Russia not named
Reuters says that the suspect, who has not been named, faces up to five years in prison for “supporting a secret intelligence agency to the detriment of Austria.”
The ministry described the suspect’s role as reporting on what was generally being discussed in Vienna, renowned since the Cold War as a den of spies.
“It is suspected that he was used as a source of information on discourse among the Austrian population, the country and the press relating to foreign policy, society as a whole and security policy and was therefore brought to Moscow in the run-up to the military operation to assess possible foreign reactions,” the ministry said.
Daily Kurier reported that in late March 2022, Austrian authorities raided the man’s apartment and found a gadget for tracking listening devices, hidden cameras, and a hazmat suit. They also reportedly confiscated multiple telephones, laptops, and tablets that contained a total of about ten million files.
The Russian embassy in Vienna did not respond to a request for comment, Reuters reports.