Diplomat found dead outside Berlin embassy was Russian secret agent – Der Spiegel

The national flag flutters on top of the Russian embassy after Germany expelled two Russian diplomats in Berlin
FILE PHOTO: The national flag flutters on top of the Russian embassy after Germany expelled two Russian diplomats in Berlin, Germany, December 4, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

November 5, 2021

BERLIN (Reuters) -German security services believe that a man found dead in a street outside the Russian Embassy in Berlin last month was an undercover agent of Russia’s FSB intelligence service, Der Spiegel reported on Friday.

The body of the 35-year-old man was found early on Oct. 19 by Berlin police officers guarding the building, the magazine said. Quoting security sources, it said the man had fallen from an upper floor at the embassy.

The officers called an ambulance, but medics were unable to resuscitate him, it added.

The embassy confirmed in a statement to Interfax news agency that a Russian diplomat had died but said it was “not commenting on this tragic event for ethical reasons”.

Berlin police declined to comment and directed all questions to public prosecutors, who said they could neither confirm nor deny the Der Spiegel report. The discovery of a body outside the Russian diplomatic mission had not previously been reported.

Security sources told the magazine it was unclear how the diplomat had fallen and what had caused his death. The Russian Embassy had not agreed to an autopsy, Der Spiegel said.

“All formalities linked to repatriating the body of the diplomat were promptly settled with the responsible law enforcement and medical authorities of Germany in accordance with the practices in place,” the embassy said in its statement to Interfax.

The man, who has not been named, was officially listed as a second secretary at the embassy, the magazine said. He was also a relative of a Russia-based senior officer of the FSB’s second directorate, which deals with anti-terrorism.

The embassy did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the Spiegel report.

A German Foreign Ministry spokesman told a regular news briefing on Friday that the German government was aware of the death of a Russian diplomat in Berlin but could not give any details.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt, Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber and Miranda MurrayEditing by Jon Boyle and Frances Kerry)

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