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Austria abandons investigation into allegations of German espionage


Austria abandons investigation into allegations of German espionage

Vienna (AFP)

The Austrian judiciary confirmed Friday that it had dropped an investigation into the German secret service (BND), accused of systematically spying on politicians, international organizations and companies on Austrian territory.

The investigation "was put aside because there is currently no track to investigate," said the spokesman of the prosecutor of Vienna, Nina Bussek.

According to reports in two Austrian newspapers in June 2018, many targets were spied by the BND between 1999 and 2006, including 2,000 landline and mobile numbers, fax addresses and e-mails from ministries, international organizations, Embassies and companies located in Austria.

Among the targeted organizations, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), all established in Vienna.

After the reports, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen urged the German authorities to provide "full clarification" on the situation. Then Chancellor Sebastian Kurz agreed.

"Spying between friendly countries is regrettable and unacceptable," Van der Bellen said at a press conference with Kurz.

The Austrian investigation, however, is "unlikely to succeed" because of the reluctance of Germany to cooperate, told the newspaper Standard the head of the Austrian intelligence services (BVT), Peter Gridling.

The investigation was not officially abandoned, Nina Bussek said: "If there were other avenues for investigation, we could continue the investigation, but there is none at present ".

© 2019 AFP

Source: france24

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