A former press service employee of German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been convicted of spying for Egypt.
The German-Egyptian citizen, identified only as Amin K., was convicted by a Berlin court on Monday and given a suspended prison sentence of one year and nine months.
The 66-year-old had been accused by federal prosecutors of espionage while he was employed at the German government press office.
He was alleged to have taken advantage of his “privileged position” by transmitting information to the Egyptian General Intelligence Service (GIS) for a number of years.
Prosecutors say he began spying on Germany in July 2010 on instructions from the Egyptian embassy in Berlin.
He was accused of compiling reports on Germany’s domestic and foreign policy relating to Egypt, including using research tools that were available to him at the press office.
In exchange, the suspect hoped that he and his family in Egypt would receive special treatment from authorities in Cairo over pension rights.
“We could never have imagined that he was spying for Egypt,” his former supervisor testified in court.
The case came to public attention in July, when it was mentioned in an annual report by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency.