Russian spies suspected of stealing auto secrets from Germans image

A married couple was arrested in the German town Michelbach, suspected of stealing secrets from German car manufacturers, after it emerged one of them worked in the auto industry for the past 20 years.

German prosecutors stated that the couple had been arrested on accusations of spying for an unspecified foreign intelligence service, which media identified over the weekend as Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service.

According to English-language German newspaper The Local, …

“intelligence service sources say the man, named only as Andreas A., had worked for Faurecia, one of Germany’s top car part manufacturers which supplies major companies including Volkswagen, Renault, Toyota and Ford,” where he is thought to have engaged in “industrial espionage.”

Andreas A., who was identified by the Daily Mail as Andreas Anschlag, 45, is believed to have been living in Germany for the past 20 years with his wife Heidrun, 51, “having used fake passports to enter the country, and then setting themselves up as a family, even having a daughter who is now said to be 20 years old and studying medicine in Marburg.”

The Moscow Times reports that Heidrun Anschlag “was caught by investigators while listening to encrypted radio messages” from Russia on a short-wave, which experts tell the paper is “bizarre” in this day and age, when internet and other forms of communication are available.

Russian newspaper Iswestija (via The Local) quotes a “Russian intelligence agent [as] saying the couple were long retired from the spy business and that they may have been used to transfer information, ‘like a kind of letter box.'”

While the Anschlags deny “being involved in any espionage activity”, The case follows a range of spy spats with the West, including one with a German helicopter engineer who was given a suspended sentence in 2008 for selling Eurocopter documents to an SVR agent.