When he is sentenced on Friday, a former security guard at the British embassy in Berlin who admitted to spying for Moscow faces up to 14 years in prison.
In a sting operation, David Ballantyne Smith, 58, was apprehended after he confessed to sending sensitive information to the Russian consulate in Germany.
Smith had a “ongoing contact” with Moscow, according to Judge Mark Wall, who said he would sentence Smith based on the notion that Smith had been “compensated for his treason.”
At the Old Bailey Court in the heart of London, the sentence hearing begins at 1000 GMT.
The judge denied Smith’s assertions that he had only twice given material to Moscow in an effort to “embarrass” the UK.
The judge further stated that Smith “was driven by his hatred of this country and meant to harm this country’s interests by acting as he did.”
The five-year veteran employee of the Berlin embassy was originally from Paisley in western Scotland.
Smith allegedly wrote to the Russian embassy for the first time in 2020, providing information about the British diplomatic workers and urging future communication.
When the German and English authorities learned of this, they plotted to catch Smith in the act.
– Fake spies –
Smith was informed that a Dmitry, a Russian national who was actually a UK spy, wanted to go to the British embassy to deliver vital information.
Smith then grabbed packaging from a phone SIM card that was provided to him and recorded CCTV footage of “Dmitry” entering the embassy.
Then, a second UK agent approached Smith while posing as “Irina,” a member of the Russian GRU military intelligence department.
I don’t trust the bastards I work for, Smith said in a secret film, and I don’t want to be in Germany. I’m trapped in a nation of Nazi devils.
Soon after, in August 2021, he was detained at his apartment and later extradited to the UK.
This Monday, Smith admitted to the court that he felt “ashamed” upon seeing the British embassy personnel he had betrayed.
He insisted that all he had intended to do was “inconvenience and embarrass.”
Nonetheless, the court was informed that Smith afterwards recorded numerous videos of private areas inside the embassy facility.
According to prosecutor Alison Morgan, Smith carefully recorded workplaces, revealing their exact locations.
Who was directing those videos, she questioned him? Smith said, “No one at all,” claiming to be intoxicated at the time.
He claimed not to be paid, but the court heard that he looked to have extra money from 2020 and that unaccounted-for cash worth about 800 euros ($857) was discovered at his residence.
Smith’s wife, a Ukrainian national who returned to her native country in 2018, is a married woman.
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