Beijing has dismissed the allegations as an attempted smear campaign FILE PHOTO. © Getty Images / Maurizio Gambarini/picture alliance via Getty Images

Berlin has arrested three German nationals on suspicion of spying for China, the Prosecutor General’s Office said on Monday. Authorities claim to have evidence of the accused passing German technologies on to Beijing in violation of the Foreign Trade Act.

The Federal Court of Justice – Germany’s highest judicial body – issued warrants for the arrest of the three individuals identified only as Thomas R., Herwig F. and Ina F. last Wednesday. The defendants’ residences and workplaces were also searched as part of the ongoing probe.

According to German authorities, the accused are “strongly suspected” of having worked for a Chinese secret service, at some time before June 2022.

Thomas R. allegedly acted as the agent of an employee of the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS), seeking to obtain information on innovative German technologies that could have potential military use. The investigators claimed he made contact with the couple, Herwig F. and Ina F., who ran a company in Dusseldorf, serving as a point of contact with people from the German research and development industry.

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The couple worked with a German university, allegedly “preparing a study for a Chinese contractual partner” on state of the art machine parts used in high-end ship engines such as combat vessels. “Behind the Chinese contractual partner was the MSS employee from whom Thomas R. received his orders,” the Prosecutor’s Office wrote on Monday, claiming they traced the funding back to the Chinese state.

The suspects were in further negotiations about research projects at the time of their arrest, according to authorities. Additionally, they allegedly purchased and transported a laser out of Germany into China, in violation of EU Regulations on dual-use technologies.

Beijing has firmly rejected claims of carrying out spy activities in Germany. “We call on the German side to stop exploiting the espionage allegation in order to politically manipulate the image of China and defame China,” the Chinese embassy in Germany told Xinhua. (RT)