Investigators quizzing suspected spy David Smith are believed to be wanting into his relationship with his Ukrainian wife who is claimed to be of Russian heritage.
Smith, 57, who has been accused of promoting secrets and techniques to the Russians whereas working as a safety guard on the British Embassy in Berlin is rumoured to have had a daughter with the thriller lady throughout their marriage.
But neighbours mentioned he had been dwelling alone for a while earlier than he was arrested this week at his one bed room floor ground flat within the metropolis of Potsdam, south west of Berlin.
The whereabouts of his wife are unknown and it’s unsure whether or not they’re divorced, estranged or simply dwelling aside.
But letters in his flat which had been seen from a window got here from the Dnipropetrovsk province in jap Ukraine, suggesting that his wife could also be dwelling there and will have lately written to him.
Investigators are considered quizzing Smith about any contact he has had with his wife who’s reported to be from Odessa.
David Smith, 57, (left within the blue t-shirt) labored as a guard on the British embassy in Berlin and was arrested at his flat in Potsdam on Tuesday after an extended working investigation by safety companies in Germany and the UK
The neighbour, who requested to not be named, took the image from a balcony in Potsdam
Dnipropetrovsk is named a hotbed of separatist settlement with a big ethnic Russian inhabitants together with many with larger loyalties to the Kremlin slightly than Ukraine.
It is claimed to be on the entrance line of the simmering civil battle battle between the Ukrainian Government forces and Russian-backed rebels.
Smith’s flat accommodates at the least three Russian flags, all seen from the home windows, in addition to a set of Soviet memorabilia and objects reportedly linked to Moscow-backed rebels in Ukraine.
But the objects additionally included a framed insignia of the Berkut, the Ukrainian particular riot police drive which was infamous for torturing protesters and was disbanded in 2015.
Some former officers from Berkut are reported to be now serving in Russia.
The insignia of the Russian Baltic, Black Sea, Northern and Pacific fleets are additionally on show within the flat alongside with three Soviet navy caps.
A big bookshelf crammed with Russian language books about psychology and philosophy in addition to Russian volumes about embroidery and cross stitching are thought to belong to his wife or daughter.
But the position of the books beside Russian navy symbols increase questions on his wife’s potential curiosity in Russian nationalism.
Images reveal the within of suspected Kremlin spy David Smith’s flat in Potsdam, Germany, which options a big Russian flag within the nook (left)
There is a Soviet officer’s hat on prime of his e book case, with Russian-themed memorabilia on the highest shelf alongside with a badge of the Ukrainian particular police
Several Cyrillic-language books adorn the cabinets, alongside insignia of the Russian Baltic, Black Sea, Northern, and Pacific fleets
Papers on a desk in Smith’s flat had been seen from a window. Russian literature and memorabilia had been additionally seen within the house
Smith, a former RAF airman, was nonetheless in custody and being quizzed right now about his alleged involvement with Russian safety companies.
MailOnline can reveal that he might have been exhibiting off his obsession with Russia and doable far proper views with the quantity plate of his automobile.
He has what’s believed to be the personalised registration quantity B-RU1801 on his battered Ford Fiesta which nonetheless sits in a parking house outdoors his flat.
The letter ‘B’ implies that the silver colored automobile is registered in Berlin – however native residents have speculated that the letters ‘RU’ stand for Russia and a possible nod to his wife’s Russian heritage.
They are additionally questioning if Smith selected the quantity ’18’ to symbolize the primary and eight letters of the alphabet ‘A’ and ‘H’ in a hidden reference to Adolf Hitler.
Another risk is that he may have used the entire quantity 1801 in homage to Alexander 1 because it was the year he got here to the throne in Russia.
Alexander is taken into account a hero by many Russian nationalists for his function in defeating Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of the nation in 1812.
German media has reported that Smith might have harboured ‘extreme right wing views’ and native safety sources have confirmed he’s being quizzed about his political opinions
Smith has what’s believed to be the personalised registration quantity B-RU1801 on his battered Ford Fiesta which nonetheless sits in a parking house outdoors his flat
Before his arrest, Smith labored as a neighborhood hire on the British Embassy in Berlin and allegedly handed on paperwork he obtained at work to the Russians, the prosecutors mentioned. Pictured: File picture of the British Embassy in Berlin
The British embassy ‘spy’ may have accomplished a ‘lot of harm’, says intelligence knowledgeable
It has been revealed that the British man arrested in Germany on suspicion of spying for Russia and handing over paperwork for money whereas working on the British Embassy in Berlin was a safety guard.
The 57-year-old suspect, recognized as David Smith, was arrested on Tuesday in Potsdam, west of Berlin, based mostly on cooperative investigations by German and British authorities.
As a safety guard on the British embassy, Smith would have extra entry than different members of employees, Dr Victor Madeira, creator of Britannia and the Bear: the Anglo-Russian intelligence wars, instructed MailOnline.
For occasion, Smith may have entry to safety patrol schedules, the right way to arm and disarm alarm programs in addition to emergency contact numbers for all employees, Dr Madeira mentioned.
‘He may doubtlessly even have entry to categorised areas, relying on his personal safety clearance,’ Dr Madeira, a Contributing Author at The Cambridge Security Initiative, instructed MailOnline.
German on-line journal Focus Online reported that he offered the Russians with paperwork containing data on counterterrorism.
Dr Madeira, talking about these reviews, mentioned: ‘The reviews that Smith handed on counter-terrorism paperwork means that Moscow may very well be making an attempt see how a lot the UK helps Germany sort out Russian assassinations on their soil.
‘Russia is also looking for out what the UK and Germany could also be discussing about counter-terrorism extra usually, just like the influence on Europe of the unrest in Afghanistan.’
He defined: ‘The data does not need to be particular to Russian actions in Germany to be of nice curiosity to Moscow – data may be weaponised for affect operations of each variety.’
Before his arrest, Smith labored as a neighborhood employees member, in any other case often known as a ‘native hire’ on the embassy, which is a scheme out there for UK residents who need to work in Germany.
It implies that he was not a diplomat and subsequently he doesn’t have diplomatic immunity.
Foreign embassies in most international locations rely partially on these ‘native hires’ to fill quite a lot of roles.
The positions are sometimes marketed on generic job search web sites within the host nation – and the identification of the employer is saved obscure till candidates go an preliminary screening course of.
Local hire positions in embassies are normally in fields akin to media affairs, upkeep or visa processing which don’t normally give entry to categorised data – or in the event that they had been, it could be restricted.
But Smith may have been in a position to present precious data to Russia, akin to WiFi passwords and employees lists together with their addresses and cell phones, Dr Madeira mentioned.
He may even have been in a position to type profiles of diplomats and MI6 officers stationed in Berlin.
Dr Madeira mentioned ‘one of many greatest issues we now have within the West is that we confuse seniority with entry’.
He mentioned: ‘Just as a result of somebody is ‘simply’ a driver, ‘simply’ a messenger, is totally irrelevant. Just as a result of somebody is a neighborhood hire and subsequently not formally a international service officer or a diplomat, that does not imply that the individual could not have accomplished plenty of injury.
‘Anything – particularly with cyber being so vital these days – from WiFi passwords, any type of administrative lists like employees lists, addresses, cell phones may very well be accessible.
‘That would make it simpler for the Russian intelligence companies to trace these cell phones.
‘They would have the ability to establish who’s a real diplomat and who will not be.’
Dr Madeira warned: ‘There’s an actual vary of harm that an individual like this might do.
‘Let’s not confuse seniority, title or standing with entry. It’s unbelievable what somebody who’s teed as much as search for sure issues can choose up.
‘It’s a well-established, tried and examined methodology. Pretty a lot everybody does it.
‘Every nation will try to recruit somebody working in a hostile embassy.’
Government officers in Germany have voiced fears up to now about far proper sympathisers utilizing the quantity plates of their vehicles to point out their views.
An area journalist instructed MailOnline: ‘Personalised number plates are quite common in Germany because people can choose their own combination of letters and numbers.
‘It is a relatively easy and cheap process. So it seems to be perhaps more than just a coincidence that his car has the letters “RU”.’
Another native resident mentioned: ‘The number 18 has a nasty connotation in Germany because it can represent the letters A and H in Adolf Hitler’s title.
‘A lot of people don’t like utilizing the quantity because of this if they’ll keep away from doing so.
‘It is quite possible that this man could have deliberately chosen the number, but then again it could have just been chance and not symbolic of anything.’
Regional states in Germany are accountable for issuing quantity plates and have their very own insurance policies on what’s permitted.
The German Federal Ministry of Transport reportedly beneficial in 2000 that states cease utilizing combos of letters with former Nazi associations.
The letters of concern included ‘SS’ in addition to ‘HJ’ for Hitler Youth, ‘NS’ for National Socialism and ‘KZ’ for focus camp.
The Brandenburg Constitutional Protection Authority which covers the Potsdam space expressed fears in 2008 about sure letter and quantity combos.
The authority warned that some automobile quantity plates had been being utilized by far proper sympathisers as ‘identifying marks among the like-minded’.
A brochure was printed on the time warning of the follow and, entitled ‘False Identification—Critical Combinations on Motor Vehicle Codes.’
It gave examples of plates which may present the ‘anti-democratic mindset’ of some motorists,
Including the numbers ‘18’ and ’88’ which might stand for ‘HH’ or ‘Heil Hitler’.
The authority additionally advised there was a danger of individuals innocently utilizing numbers or letter combos and coming underneath wrongful suspicion of getting far proper views.
The Brandenburg Intelligence Service mentioned on the time: ‘Frequently there are people who want to use their initials or birthdays on their motor vehicle codes.’
Smith who is claimed to have as soon as been an RAF airman was nonetheless being held in custody right now after being arrested on Tuesday at his residence.
It was revealed right now that he had moved to Germany a few years in the past after leaving the RAF and had been employed as a guard at a British Army base.
A former colleague mentioned he was ‘obsessed’ with navy historical past and Russia, and had spent his days off looking World War Two battlefields for artefacts.
Military historical past books embrace volumes about Hitler’s feared SS twelfth Panzer Division which dedicated battle crimes in World War Two are on a shelf in his flat in addition to a biography of Reinhard Heydrich, the high-ranking German SS and police official who was a principal architect of the Holocaust.
Smith was firearms skilled and is reported to have carried a 9mm Browning pistol in his former function as a civilian member of the Germany Guard Service which was employed by the Ministry of Defence to protect British Army bases.
He is claimed to have spent a few years in a canine part engaged on a base at Bielefeld, in North Rhine-Westphalia, however he left earlier than British troops had been lastly withdrawn from Germany.
His former colleague instructed The Sun: ‘David was obsessed with World War Two, particularly the role played by Russia and the Nazis.
‘He made no secret of it. He left Britain due to money troubles and headed to Berlin where he could further his passion. He loved it that much.
‘David would go searching for artefacts buried in forests and had a Wehrmacht helmet which he liked to pose in.’
The pal added: ‘Flashy spy he is not. No smart suits – more T-shirts and jeans. Definitely not a James Bond. He liked a cup of tea.
‘He’d come to work with sandwiches and a bag of crisps. He also loved to have a drink. His favourite beer was Krombacher.
‘He’d enjoy a four pack, never went on a diet and joked about people who wanted to exercise. He’s been driving his clapped out Fiesta for 16 years.’