Austrian Soldier Convicted for Passing Eurocopter Secrets to Russia

By on Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

An Austrian soldier has been convicted of spying for the Russian secret service, handing over secret information on military and civilian helicopters. The court has sentenced him to a one-year suspended prison term.

A court in Munich on Tuesday handed down a one-year suspended prison sentence to an Austrian soldier for providing the Russian secret service with secret information on a subsidiary of defense giant EADS.

The 54-year-old man, identified as Harald Alois S., admitted during the trial to working for the Russian secret service from 1997 to 2002. He paid an engineer at Eurocopter, owned by EADS, for handbooks and other documents relating to military and civilian helicopters and handed them to a Russian intermediary.

The court’s decision said Russia’s goals were to obtain militarily useful information from Eurocopter. Chief among the vehicles of interest was the Tiger attack helicopter.

The soldier’s defense lawyer had argued for a one-year suspended prison sentence while prosecutors asked for a 15-month suspended term.

The Eurocopter employee was arrested in 2007 and received an 11-month suspended prison sentence the following year. His cooperation with investigators led to the arrest of the Austrian soldier, who also went to court in Austria claiming the statute of limitations had expired.

The soldier himself initiated his trial in Germany, which, along with his confession, the court regarded as mitigating circumstances.

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