German Economy Ministry officials flagged over possible Russia ties – Die Zeit

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German Economy Ministry has asked the country’s domestic intelligence agency BfV to look into two senior ministry officials over concerns about their possible ties to Russia, Die Zeit weekly reported on Wednesday.

Die Zeit, citing its own research, said Economy Ministry officials had approached the BfV in the spring about the officials’ allegedly pro-Russian stance on issues such as utility Uniper’s bailout or state intervention in Gazprom Germania.

Die Zeit did not name the officials.

The BfV looked into the officials’ backgrounds, personal relations and travel records, and found no solid evidence so far of spying or corruption, Die Zeit reported.

The Economy Ministry, which said it does not comment on specific cases, said it has maintained close contact with the BfV since the start of the legislative period as the Ministry’s work is under particular scrutiny due to its responsibility for energy security.

“In addition, the new administration has completely overhauled the previous government’s Russia-friendly policy,” an Economy Ministry spokesperson said.

“All efforts of the new administration are aimed at reducing dependence on Russian gas; this policy is rigorously implemented,” the spokesperson said.

(Reporting by Miranda Murray. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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