British Embassy security guard accused of spying for Russia pleads not guilty in UK court after extradition from Germany

An armoured police van, which arrived with a police escort and is believed to be carrying David Smith, enters Westminster Magistrates' Court, London
An armoured police van, which arrived with a police escort and is believed to be carrying David Smith, enters Westminster Magistrates' Court, London

A British Embassy security guard in Germany, accused of spying for the Russians, has appeared in court on espionage charges

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David Smith was arrested by German police on 10 August last year.

He was flown back to the UK on Wednesday to face the spying charges, after a case was brought by the Crown Prosecution Service and Metropolitan police.

The 57-year-old security guard is accused of collecting information from the British Embassy in Berlin, with the intention of passing it on 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.

He is charged with communicating with the Russian military attaché in Berlin, Major General Sergey Chukhorov.

He is alleged to have passed on details of the activities and identities of British civil servants.

Because of national security implications, the Crown Prosecution Service had to apply to the Attorney General for permission to mount a prosecution.

Smith appeared in the dock at Westminster Magistrates today.

An armoured police van, which arrived with a police escort and is believed to be carrying David Smith, enters Westminster Magistrates' Court, London
An armoured police van, which arrived with a police escort and is believed to be carrying David Smith, enters Westminster Magistrates' Court, London

Wearing a blue top and jeans, he spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth.

As each of the nine charges were read out to the defendant, he indicated he planned to plead not guilty.

The British Embassy security guard is also accused of collecting material classified as “secret”, as well as material on the layout and operation of the British Embassy, and CCTV footage, that was calculated to be or might have been “directly or indirectly useful to an enemy, namely the Russian state”.

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.”

Smith, a British national who was living in Potsdam, is charged with carrying out the offences, between October 2020 and August 2021.

He was remanded in custody, ahead of his first crown court hearing at the Old Bailey in central London on 13 April.