Ex-Dutch envoy accused of spying for Russia in Hong Kong goes on trial

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 April, 2013, 6:47am

A former Dutch diplomat accused of selling state secrets to Russia while working in Hong Kong goes on trial tomorrow in the Netherlands.

The case has links to the glamorous Russian sleeper agent Anna Chapman, who was deported from the United States in 2010 at the age of 28.

The former Dutch foreign service employee, Raymond Poeteray, worked at the consulate in Hong Kong between 2004 and 2008. He faces charges of passing state secrets to Russian secret service SVR - the successor to the KGB - as well as bribery, laundering more than HK$870,000 and possession of a firearm.

Poeteray, who is in his sixties, was arrested in April last year and has since appeared in several pre-trial hearings.

Earlier this year in Stuttgart, southern Germany, the trial began of Andreas and Heidrun Anschlag - Poeteray's suspected handlers, who were said to have been in contact with Chapman as well.

Dutch police investigators were called to testify and they presented evidence indicating Poeteray began working for the Russian intelligence agency during his time in Hong Kong.

The evidence showed Poeteray received mysterious monthly payments in 2005 and 2006, but the payments stopped in 2007, coinciding with the diplomat making international headlines for abandoning his adopted South Korean daughter to the care of local welfare workers.

Shortly after the adoption scandal, Poeteray was transferred back to the Netherlands to continue his career at the Foreign Affairs Department, and the mysterious payments began again.

German authorities believe he delivered large amounts of classified information from 2008 to the Anschlags in Germany, including documents about Nato operations.

The German federal public prosecutor said it was "the mission from SVR headquarters to obtain Nato and EU political and military secrets, as well as geo-strategic findings on the relationship of Nato and the EU with the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia", German media reported.