Berlin: Spy convicted of helping Iran

In October 2008, an Iranian-Canadian businessman, now 61, who spied on behalf of Germany (codename Sinbad) was arrested on charges of supporting Tehran’s missile program. He has just been convicted and sentenced to 3 years in prison by Berlin’s superior court of justice, reports the German news weekly Der Spiegel.

German spy chief Ernst Uhrlau did not want to lose his spy (whose identity has remained a secret) and argued not to have him arrested last year, but Chief Federal Prosecutor Monika Harms won that battle.

Ernst UhrlauThe German intelligence agency BND regarded Sinbad as an important source of information on the Iranian arms program, and according to Der Spiegel, Sinbad received over $1.4 million from BND over the 10+ years during which they employed his services.

It turns out that at the same time, the spy was also selling high-tech equipment to a company allegedly helping Iran manufacture Shahab missiles (long-range missiles modeled on Scud-B missiles…shahab means meteor in Arabic). The company is on Germany’s no-export list.

After Sinbad’s arrest, it was agreed by all parties involved that the trial be conducted efficiently and away from the public eye. The spy likely assumed his actions would be pardoned given his undercover work for the BND, but no such luck. He has now been ordered to leave Germany and serve his sentence abroad. Although where and how has not been specified – chances are he’ll serve his time in Canada, under a mutual prisoner exchange agreement.

It is still unclear whether the agent was working as a double – funneling ‘intel’ to Germany on Iran, while keeping Iran abreast of what he was doing.

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