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A security guard at the British embassy in Berlin accused of spying for Russia has today denied allegations he passed ‘secret’ information about the Government to a Russian military attache.

David Smith, 57, is accused of collecting information ‘useful to the Russian state’ and sending a letter to Russian military attache containing details of embassy officials.

He is also accused of collecting material classified as secret, including unauthorised copies of documents, a SIM packaging and CCTV footage. 

Wearing jeans and a blue jumper, Smith appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court this afternoon charged with nine offences under the Official Secrets Act. He pleaded not guilty to each of the charges. 

The British national, who was living in Potsdam, Germany, allegedly committed the offences between October 2020 and August last year. 

David Smith (pictured in August last year) appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court this afternoon charged with nine offences under the Official Secrets Act. He pleaded not guilty

David Smith (pictured in August last year) appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court this afternoon charged with nine offences under the Official Secrets Act. He pleaded not guilty

David Smith (pictured in August last year) appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court this afternoon charged with nine offences under the Official Secrets Act. He pleaded not guilty 

Smith was arrested by German police at his apartment in Potsdam on August 10 last year

Smith was arrested by German police at his apartment in Potsdam on August 10 last year

Smith was arrested by German police at his apartment in Potsdam on August 10 last year

Court lists detailing the charges allege Smith ‘attempted to communicate’ by letter with ‘General Major Sergey Chukhurov, the Russian military attache based out of the Russian Embassy, Berlin’.  

The material ‘contained details about the activities, identities, addresses and telephone numbers of various members of Her Majesty’s Civil Service’, in breach of the Official Secrets Act. 

In eight other charges, Smith is accused of committing acts ‘prejudicial’ to the safety and interest of the state by gathering information classified as ‘secret’ about the ‘activities of Her Majesty’s Government’.

It is also alleged he ‘collected material relating to the operation and layout of the British Embassy in Berlin, and that information was calculated to be or might be or was intended to be directly or be indirectly useful to an enemy, namely the Russian state’. 

Prosecutor Louise Gray said: ‘There are nine offences before the court all of which carry a sentence of a maximum of 14 years.’ 

Smith was arrested by German police on August 10 and was remanded in custody in the country.

Smith was arrested by German police on August 10 and was remanded in custody in the country. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court today. Pictured: A Police van believed to contain Smith arriving at court today

Smith was arrested by German police on August 10 and was remanded in custody in the country. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court today. Pictured: A Police van believed to contain Smith arriving at court today

Smith was arrested by German police on August 10 and was remanded in custody in the country. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today. Pictured: A Police van believed to contain Smith arriving at court today

David Smith appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court (pictured) on Thursday to face charges

David Smith appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court (pictured) on Thursday to face charges

David Smith appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (pictured) on Thursday to face charges

Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring said: ‘Because the charges are so serious the powers of this court will be insufficient.

‘I decline jurisdiction and send the charges to the Central Criminal Court for a first hearing on the 13 April.’

Smith was remanded in custody ahead of his next hearing at the Old Bailey.

In a statement issued yesterday, Nick Price, head of the CPS special crime and counter terrorism division, said: ‘David Smith has been charged with nine offences contrary to the Official Secrets Act.

‘He is accused of seven offences of collecting information with the intent of sending it to the Russian authorities, one of attempting communication and one of providing information to a person he believed was a member of the Russian authorities.

‘After reviewing the case and authorising charges, we obtained an extradition warrant and worked closely with our German counterparts in order to bring Mr Smith back to the UK.’

Scotland Yard has said the nine charges relate to ‘the collection and communication of information useful to the Russian state’. 

A statement from the Met Police, released yesterday, said: ‘A man is due in court charged with Official Secrets Act offences, following an investigation that is being led by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.

‘David Ballantyne Smith, 57, a British national who was living in Potsdam, Germany, is charged with nine offences under the Official Secrets Act 1911.

‘Smith, who was employed as a security guard at the British Embassy in Berlin, was extradited back to the UK from Germany on Wednesday following his arrest by German police on 10 August 2021.’

Source: Daily Mail

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