Guard at UK Embassy in Berlin Accused of Passing Secrets to Russian Diplomat

By Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
April 7, 2022 Updated: April 7, 2022

A security guard at the British Embassy in Berlin has appeared in court after being accused of spying for the Russian state.

David Smith, 57, was arrested by German police on Aug. 10, 2021, and was extradited to the UK on April 6.

The British national was charged with nine offences under the Official Secrets Act and appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on April 7.

Wearing a blue jumper and jeans, he confirmed his name and age, but told the court that he no longer had an address. He appeared unemotional as he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

He has been accused of gathering information from the British Embassy and passing it to someone he believed was a representative of the Russian state between October 2020 and August 2021.

Smith allegedly “attempted to communicate” by letter with “General Major Sergey Chukhurov, the Russian military attache based out of the Russian Embassy, Berlin.”

The material “contained details about the activities, identities, addresses and telephone numbers of various members of Her Majesty’s Civil Service,” according to the charges.

Smith is also accused of committing acts “prejudicial” to the safety and interest of the state by gathering information classified as “secret” about the “activities of Her Majesty’s Government.”

He allegedly “collected material relating to the operation and layout of the British Embassy in Berlin,” with that information thought or intended to be “useful to an enemy, namely the Russian state.”

Smith also allegedly made unauthorised photocopies of documents, video recordings of the embassy’s CCTV system, and “kept sim card packaging” he had been asked to dispose of.

Smith gave information about building repairs at the embassy after being approached by someone he “believed to be a member of Russian Military Intelligence (the GRU),” the charges claim.

Nick Price, head of the special crime and counter terrorism division of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said on April 6: “David Smith has been charged with nine offences contrary to the Official Secrets Act.

“He is accused of seven offences of collecting information with the intent of sending it to the Russian authorities, one of attempting communication, and one of providing information to a person he believed was a member of the Russian authorities.

“After reviewing the case and authorising charges, we obtained an extradition warrant and worked closely with our German counterparts in order to bring Mr. Smith back to the UK.”

Smith was remanded in custody and is due to appear at the Central Criminal Court, commonly known as the Old Bailey, on April 13.

PA Media contributed to this report.