BERLIN (Reuters) – Prosecutors have charged two Germans suspected of selling machinery to a Russian state-owned armaments group that manufactures missile systems for the Russian army.
The Federal Prosecutor’s Office (GBA) said on Tuesday it has filed charges against the men, identified as Alexander S. and Alexander O. under German privacy laws, for allegedly “acting commercially for the secret service of a foreign power”.
The indictment comes amid friction between Germany and Russia following the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, which Chancellor Angela Merkel has demanded Moscow explain.
Alexander S. is charged with selling machine tools for around 8 million euros to a state-owned armaments group that manufactures missile systems for the Russian army in the period from Jan. 2016 to Jan. 2018.
Prosecutors said Alexander S. exported the tools to Russia in seven deliveries and deceived Germany’s export control authorities by specifying sham recipients and falsifying end-use certificates. They did not give detilas of the tools.
The European Union imposed a ban on selling and exporting so-called dual-use goods that may be intended in whole, or part for military purposes, to Russia in 2014 due to its involvement in the war in Ukraine.
Alexander O. is charged with assisting Alexander S. by maintaining contacts with the recipients of the deliveries and being present when the transactions were discussed. He is said to have received commission payments.
The defendant Alexander S. was arrested in February and has been in custody since then, while Alexander O. is still at large, the GBA said.
Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Angus MacSwan