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Security guard charged with spying at British Embassy in Berlin


A security guard alleged to have spied at a British Embassy in Germany has been flown back to the UK today to face charges after a case was brought by the Crown Prosecution Service and Metropolitan Police.

David Smith, 57, was arrested by German police on 10 August 2021. He is accused of collecting information from the British Embassy in Berlin intending to pass it to a foreign state.

One of the nine charges relates to allegations he passed information to a person he believed was a representative of the Russian state.

The CPS worked with the Metropolitan Police to build a prosecution case and on 15 November 2021 authorised charges after obtaining consent from the Attorney General.  

Nick Price, Head of Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division at the CPS, said: “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.”

The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against the defendant are active and he has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.

The function of the CPS is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for a criminal court to consider.

The CPS assessment of any case is not in any sense a finding of, or implication of, any guilt or criminal conduct. It is not a finding of fact, which can only be made by a court, but rather an assessment of what it might be possible to prove to a court, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

Mr Smith will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 7 April.

Notes to editors

David Ballantyne Smith [DOB: 24/07/1964] is charged with:

  • 9 x offences contrary to the Official Secrets Act 1911 and the Official Secrets Act 1920 between 31 October 2020 and 10 August 2021.

Although the CPS makes prosecution decisions independently of the police and government, consent is required from the Attorney General for alleged offences under the Official Secrets Act.

The CPS Counter Terrorism Division is responsible for prosecuting all terrorism crimes and terrorist related offences in England and Wales. It also deals with incitement to racial and religious hatred, stirring up hatred based on sexual orientation, war crimes and crimes against humanity, official secrets cases and piracy and hijacking. 

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